Save Aarey: Activists allege sabotage of trees at Metro plot

Feb 09, 2017, 08:55 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav

Green warriors allege 40-50 trees at Metro plot in Aarey Colony are at the risk of withering because of concrete mix scattered by MMRC

Activists said the trees are already beginning to wither because of the concrete mix
Activists said the trees are already beginning to wither because of the concrete mix

The Metro authorities have barely begun work in Aarey Colony, and already, as many as 40-50 trees are at risk.

Green activists recently visited the 3-hectare plot adjacent to the Jogeshwari-Vikroli Link Road, which was handed over to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation last year for Metro Line III (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz).

Also read: 4 lakh trees in Aarey, but Mumbai Metro bosses insist it's not a forest

Environmentalists have pointed out that the authorities have covered the entire plot with crushed stones and concrete mix, including near the roots of the trees. They alleged that this was done deliberately to choke the trees, and have demanded that the concrete be removed from the base of the trees.

Green activists found that a portion of the plot had been sectioned off with tin sheets and the ground had been levelled inside. In order to provide access to vehicles for the construction work, the authorities have also started building a road. The crushed stone and concrete mix was spread on the stretch and near the trees.

Deliberately done?
One of the activists took pictures of the plot and sent it to mid-day. “Two days ago, we visited the plot and were shocked to see that concrete had been scattered close to the trees. The trees can die because of the concrete,” said the activist.

Also read: Why activists want Metro 3 car depot to be shifted from Aarey to Kanjurmarg

Activist Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti said, “We expect the authorities to clear the concrete mix from the base of the trees, otherwise the trees might die. I personally think that the concrete mix was spread around the trees deliberately; we will bring this to the notice of the National Green Tribunal.”

Metro III has been fraught with controversy because of the environmental damage it is anticipated to cause if the authorities build the car depot in Aarey Colony.

This matter is currently being heard by the NGT. However, the 3-hectare plot was handed over to the MMRC last year through a government resolution passed by the Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Department, allowing the Metro agency to use the land as a car depot workshop and for commercial use. In January, the NGT allowed MMRC to carry out work on this plot.

MMRC says
A senior MMRC official said, “I think it is wrong to say that we have poured or put the concrete surrounding the trees. There was a cement concrete mixture plant at the site and the cement mix has been scattered on the ground since a long time. This is not something new.”

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