War to save Aarey enters next phase: Birders join battle to save green lung

Updated: Sep 04, 2019, 07:57 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Write to high court-appointed Bird Committee seeking assessment of what destruction of green cover will do to birds and other species

Aarey Colony
Aarey Colony

Upping Mumbai's strident voice against the BMC-appointed Tree Authority clearing the hacking of 2,646 trees in Aarey Colony to make way for a Metro car shed, NGO Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare has dashed off a letter to the high court-appointed Bird Committee. The letter demands a fresh environment impact assessment, citing rich biodiversity in the area.

Mentioning that the cutting of trees would amount to hunting of protected species, it has also demanded that a neutral agency or group of researchers should carry out the exercise. Pawan Sharma, founder and president of RAWW, in the letter said, "More than 2,646 trees will be cut at the proposed Metro car shed site. As we are aware that Aarey has a rich biodiversity and the land on which the trees stand is home to thousands of animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arachnid, cutting them will lead to haphazard and unscientific displacement, higher mortality and territorial fights, further escalating human-wildlife conflicts in the city."

The NGO further said that they were aware how rich Aarey was in terms of its wildlife as they had worked in close association with the Forest Department for mitigating human-wildlife conflicts. They further alleged that MMRC had prepared the EIA report in an unscientific manner.

"We request the committee to intervene in the matter and initiate necessary action as per the HC guidelines so that a proper EIA is conducted. You can also ask the Mumbai range of the Thane Territorial Wing of the Forest Department to share data regarding the wildlife rescued from Aarey in the past years, as it indicates the strong presence of animals there," the letter further states. The NGO also mentioned that were alternative sites where the car shed could be constructed.

"Aarey Colony lies within a 10-km radius of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) and acts as a natural buffer zone. Hence, it is very important to protect it from any kind of destruction. Having total faith in your committee, we look forward to some necessary action which will stop implementation of this unsustainable plan," the letter concludes.

Year the HC-appointed Bird Committee was set up

Bird Committee

The Bombay High Court had formed the Bird Committee in 1997. It was formed to implement the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. Their work included stopping cruelty towards birds, which are caught and illegally brought to Mumbai for sale and other purpose.

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