The proposal for car shed, which is slated to claim 3,130 trees, is also pending with the BMC’s tree authority.
Mumbai: Activists and citizens gathered on Friday at the office of the Brihanm-umbai Municipal Corpo-ration’s (BMC) garden department at Byculla for the public hearing against the cutting of 444 trees in Aarey for the Metro 3 project. According to the department, it has received 300 objections. Citizens said that while there are other feasible alternatives for the car shed, the green lung of the city must not be compromised. The proposal for car shed, which is slated to claim 3,130 trees, is also pending with the BMC’s tree authority.
Activists feared that with the absence of a vital green space like Aarey Colony, Mumbai would become another Delhi in terms of air pollution.
“Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRC) claims that the Metro will reduce air pollution with more people using public transport instead of private vehicles. The air pollution of Delhi remains severe throughout the year even with a huge metro rail network. We want the metro but not at expense of the green cover of Aarey,” said Priya Mishra, a member of Aarey Conservation Group.
There were objections over the tree cutting proposals being laid out even when Aarey Colony was submitted as a part of Sanjay Gandhi National Park in government records. “Already the state government notification for changing the No Development Zone is being heard in the NGT. When there are other feasible options like Kanjur-marg, what is the need to get into a green space,” asked Churchgate resident Nina Verma.
In 2015, the state’s six-member expert panel chose Kanjurmarg for the car shed as the land has a very little green cover. The Bombay high court also ordered an inquiry as to whether the car shed could be shifted there. Other objection included the green zone status given to Aarey in the Development Plan 2034 and possibility of tree felling worsening the floods along the low-lying Mithi area.
The MMRC will be filing replies to the objections and will be submitting them to the garden department.
Gov makes spot visit
Mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar and BMC corporators and MMRC officials visited the car shed site on Friday evening. The mayor enquired about the project’s impact on the environment and wildlife. However MMRC officials claimed no leopards are in the area.