Mumbai: Who started forest fires inside Aarey?

Apr 14, 2016, 07:07 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Regular visitors claim 50 to 60 trees have been lost due to forest fires in the last 2-3 days; accuse Aarey authorities of failing to rein in the rogue elements

At a time when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is taking keen interest in protecting the city’s green cover, miscreants are busy destroying the rich flora inside the Aarey Milk Colony — one stretch at a time.

It has been discovered that miscreants have cleared a lush green stretch of about 500 metres near the VIP guesthouse by setting it ablaze in the last two to three days. However, what has left the morning and evening walkers and eco-warriors fuming is the lackadaisical approach exhibited by the Aarey CEO office in putting a check on these rogue elements.

Also Read: Third fire in a week strikes Aarey's forests

The stretch towards the VIP guesthouse that has been set on fire in the last two to three days.

Voices of dissent
Bharat Vyas, an evening walker who has been coming to Aarey for the last 20 years, said, “Back then, greenery inside the colony was denser than what it is today. And the need of the hour is to protect whatever is left of it. People pose the biggest threat to the Aarey’s biodiversity. Those responsible for logging healthy trees and starting forest fires must be brought to book.”

Vyas claimed that he, along with fellow walkers, had approached the Aarey CEO office, fire brigade and police officials, but their complaints fell on deaf ears.

Anand Patil, another frequent visitor to Aarey, said, “The best way to avert forest fires is by spreading awareness. Visitors should be informed and encouraged not to carry flammable substances while visiting or passing through. Most importantly, smoking should be banned inside Aarey. In last two weeks, I personally spotted three to four forest fires that appeared to be the handiwork of miscreants.”

Read Story: With sudden rise in forest fires in Aarey Colony, locals smell a rat

Bimbisar Nagar resident and Aarey regular, Subhash Bakre said that on several occasions, he has seen people chopping healthy trees. “These people fled the spot the moment I intervened. I’m aware of the ongoing staff crunch at the Aarey CEO office, which limits their activities. But patrolling during the dry months from March to May is essential because it is during these months that incidents of forest fires are at their peak. About 50 to 60 trees have been lost in last two to three days owing to the fires started by miscreants.”

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Did you know?
In the past week, various instances of forest fires were reported near Vanichapada behind NZ hostel, near units 16 and 13, in which 60 small and big trees were gutted.

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