Declare Aarey a forest, say activists and political parties Marathi manoos.
Mumbai: Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday stayed the ongoing work for the Metro car shed at Aarey Colony. He said that the project would continue, but the construction of the car shed will be on hold until further notice. While political parties and activists hailed the move, the BJP criticised the decision and said Mr Thackeray had taken it only to ‘satisfy his ego’.
“The overnight cutting of trees is unacceptable to us. I have given orders to stop work of metro car shed at Aarey. Not even a single tree will be cut there as long as I am the CM,” Mr Thackeray said after taking charge as the chief minister on Friday.
“We will review the metro car shed site, why and how the trees were cut. A detailed study on the site is also needed,” he added. Mr Thackeray asserted that the stay is only for the metro car shed site in Aarey Colony and not on the construction of metro line 3.
Shiv Sena’s ally NCP also welcomed the move to protect the ecology of Aarey. “We encourage that it should be declared as a forest. The introduction of car shed inside Aarey was against the tribals and the way several trees were cut in the midnight was wrong,” said Vidya Chavan, NCP MLC.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) party, also sought resignation of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) officer Ashwini Bhide and BMC’s tree authority for approving the tree-cutting in Aarey. “We demand the removal of incompetent officers like Ashwini Bhide and BMC’s tree authority for lying and targeting activists and citizens alike to stifle people’s movement,” said Ruben Mascarenhas, AAP national joint secretary.
Meanwhile the BJP slammed the government for hindering development work. “This is unfortunate that politics is being played on an important infrastructure project. The decision to stay the work of car shed has been taken by the chief minister only to satisfy his ego,” BJP leader Ashish Shelar said.
Former CM Devendra Fadnavis, too, slammed the decision.
“It’s unfortunate that State Government stayed Aarey Metro CarShed work in spite of Hon Supreme Court & Hon High Court orders. This shows State Government is not serious about Mumbai Infrastructure projects. And ultimate sufferer is common Mumbaikar only, (sic)” he tweeted.
“JICA had funded 15,000crore for this Metro project on nominal interest rates. Such decisions will demotivate investors to come forward in future and all infra projects will get stalled which were already delayed for so long in previous 15 year rule,” he further tweeted.
Elated tribals of Aarey Colony too welcomed the move and demanded immediate withdrawal of criminal charges against the 29 citizens who protested tree-cutting in Aarey. “This is truly ‘acche din’ for us. Now we hope that Sena fulfills its pre-poll promise and declare Aarey as forest. The government should immediately withdraw criminal charges against 29 protesters, who have been visiting police station very alternate Wednesday,” said Prakash Bhoir, a tribal.
“Despite the announcement, the work on car shed continued on Friday evening. Government should ensure that it is immediately stopped and alternative site should be announced based on the technical committee’s report,” said Amrita Bhattacharya, Aarey activist.