Mumbai: NGT gives Aarey activists an early Christmas gift

Updated: Dec 20, 2016, 10:00 IST | A Correspondent |

National Green Tribunal once again states that no construction work is to be allowed in the eco-sensitive zone, not even for the Metro III project

Christmas has come early for green activists fighting to protect Aarey Milk Colony – the National Green Tribunal (NGT) once again made it clear yesterday that the status quo must be maintained in the green pocket, and no construction work — not even for the Metro III project —can be done there.

Last hope
mid-day had reported how the NGT was the last hope to save Aarey from destruction after the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) cleared the way for construction of the Metro III car depot over there. Exactly a fortnight after the MoEF notification, the NGT ordered that no work should be undertaken on the 3-hectare plot belonging to Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC).

This plot was recently handed over to the MMRC by the Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Department for the construction of a stabling yard.

Stalin D, from the NGO Vanashakti, said, “In the hearing on Monday, the NGT Pune bench once again clearly said that the MMRC must abide by the orders of the court and the status quo should be maintained.”

“We had to file an application in this regard with the NGT because the concerned departments were not taking our complaints seriously,” said another activist.

All I want for Christmas
It’s going to be a green Christmas at Aarey Colony this year, as 12 NGOs come together for a ‘Green Santa’ movement on December 23. Activists will set out on a silent march from 10,30 am to noon to protest the ruthless destruction of the green cover and biodiversity at Aarey. The protest will start from the entrance of the Police Camp, Marol Maroshi Road, and end at Picnic Spot.

Dolphy D’Souza, spokesperson for the NGO, Save Our Lands, said, “In spite of vociferous protests by citizens, the government is making no attempts to change their plans. They say we should protect the environment and, in the same breath, destroy the green cover themselves. This needs to stop, and our last hope is Santa. He will bring us good news, we hope.”

- Aparna Shukla

Voices

Godfrey Pimenta, Watchdog Foundation
‘The Metro authorities can go to Royal Palms, where there is open land. Why harass the people, the nature and the citizens for the only source of fresh air they have?’

Stalin Dayanand, NGO Vanashakti
‘The government has been testing people’s resolve needlessly since so many years. They are hell bent on destroying Aarey. They were given options like Kanjurmarg and BKC, but they kept insisting on Aarey.’

50 HA
Area in Aarey requested by MMRC for Metro yard

2,298
Trees in Aarey that face the axe for Metro project

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