They said that the voting in this election was symbolic, as they would be exercising their franchise to save Aarey.
Mumbai: Tribals and students came out in large numbers to cast their votes at Aarey colony. They said that the voting in this election was symbolic, as they would be exercising their franchise to save Aarey.
Since early morning hours, tribals from the 27 settlements of Aarey colony were seen in queues outside polling booths. They said that they had voted against political parties which proposed and pushed several development projects inside Aarey, also known as the “last green lung” of Mumbai.
“We have been pleading with the state time and again to shift the metro car shed from Aarey as it is going to destroy the natural ecosystem here. However, our pleas have fallen on deaf ears and thousands of trees have been cut during late ni-ght,” said Prakash Bhoir, a tribal from Aarey.
Apart from the car shed for the metro line 3, a botanical zoo and slum rehabilitation authority projects have also been proposed inside Aarey. The tribals who had gathered to vote Monday said that their vote is a protest against parties floating such projects.
The botanical zoo proposed by the BMC will claim land from six padas (settlements) in Aarey, they said. “My five acres of plot is being forcibly given to the zoo. I do paddy farming there along with farming of vegetables like spinach, radish, and bottlegourd among others. Instead of giving assurances, we have been asked to vacate the land,” said Laxman Dalvi, another tribal.