"Nature lovers hope for some respite from MVA government; demand scrapping of project "
More than 2,000 trees have been cut in Aarey for Metro work. File pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
The state government on July 20 will hold a public hearing via video conference on the objections/suggestions they received against the construction of Metro Bhavan in Aarey.
The Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 had published a notice under Section 37 (1AA) of the said Act and proposed modifications to the Development Plan-2034 for Greater Mumbai in respect of land bearing CTS No. 589A (Part) of Pahadi Goregaon (E), Mumbai, for Metro Bhavan and Metrorail Allied Users.
Many nature-loving Mumbaikars had filed suggestions and objections for the same as they have been opposing any new development in Aarey, saying that it poses a threat to the biodiversity of the area.
People who filed suggestions and objections have now received correspondence from the government about a hearing via video conferencing.
"The objections/suggestions sent by you are received in this office. As per the provisions of the said Act, it is necessary to give hearing on your objections/suggestions application. Considering the present situation that has arisen due to COVID-19, the hearing will be conducted via video conferencing. Therefore, if you wish to be present for this then it is requested to confirm the same on email id – firstname.lastname@example.org on or before July 20, 2020. So that, planning of the same will be done and the video conference link, date and time will be informed to you accordingly. If you are unable to attend the hearing, then by considering the objections/ suggestions registered by you, the report to the government will be submitted accordingly," the correspondence states.
Stalin D from NGO Vanashakti and a member of Aarey Conservation Group said, "This is a mockery of the public consultation and a complete farce. Despite 99 per cent people opposing the change of land use, the town planning officer pretended to hear the citizens, noted their suggestions in his report and observed that people unanimously have objected to the change in land use. Yet he concluded the report saying there is no harm in changing the land use. So, basically people were taken for a ride."
"If the MVA government is serious about protecting Aarey, then this unnecessary commercially motivated land grab project called the Metro Bhavan should have been scrapped. If the government has already made up its mind, this hearing is just a token gesture," he added.
Green activist Zoru Bhathena who has been actively involved in fighting to save Aarey said, "The current government has publicly said that they are going to protect the entire Aarey forest, but privately they continue with their plans to build a Metro Bhavan inside it. This is just not done. Our fight will not stop till entire Aarey is officially declared as a protected forest. It's time the government steps up and acts to officially protect Aarey."
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