Trees damaged, foliage burnt near the site of Metro Line-3 car shed in Aarey Milk Colony

Updated: Dec 07, 2014, 10:03 IST | Neha LM Tripathi |

Activist Biju Augustine lodges complaint against unidentified miscreants, accuses MMRDA of foul play

There is every possibility that in the coming days, the war between eco-warriors and MMRDA over the chopping of trees in the Aarey Milk Colony to build a carshed for Colaba-Bandra-Seepz (CBS) Metro Line-3 will escalate. And Saturday’s incident could prove to be the trigger point. 

During his visit to the Aarey colony,  Biju Augustine witnessed that a few tress appeared damaged near the Aarey Picnic Point

During his visit to the Aarey colony on Saturday afternoon, an activist from Marol noticed that a few trees appeared damaged near the Aarey Picnic Point, which is near the area allocated for the construction of the car shed.

Sensing sabotage, Biju Augustine lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against unidentified miscreants at the Aarey
police station.

Augustine said, “Around 12.30 pm, I discovered that the roots of a few trees were damaged and the foliage around a few of the trees was burnt. This is systematic killing of trees by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for building car shed. The FIR has been lodged under Section 21 of the Maharashtra Trees
Act, 1975.”

“It’s a brutal tactic to get rid of the trees. Police must investigate the matter thoroughly, citizens need be vigilant in the coming days,” environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal said.

Seconding Aggarwal, Stalin Dayanand, founder-chairman of NGO Van Shakti accused the MMRDA of breaching the trust. “They are trying to pass the buck onto unknown miscreants. It’s a ploy to clear the land without courting trouble,” Dayanand said.

The other side
Additional Metropolitan Commissioner and Chairperson for Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) Project Director, Sanjay Sethi said, “There has been no activity in Aarey, in terms of cutting the trees. It seems to be the handiwork of anti-social elements.”

Case history
Aarey colony residents have been unhappy with the MMRDA’s decision to chop 2,298 for the Metro Line-3. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Dayanand and Aarey colony resident Kshitij Ashtekar, following which the HC ordered a stay on the cutting down of trees.

In addition, environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal, who is a member of the Save Aarey Milk Colony group, had decided to write to the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) bank, which is funding the metro project. Aggarwal wants the JICA to ask the MMRDA to relocate the car shed from Aarey colony as it will save thousands of trees.

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