As the Aarey tree felling row continues, as a last-resort a student delegation has turned to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi to stop the felling of over 2,500 trees in Mumbai’s Aarey colony to make way for the car shed for Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation’s Metro 3 project.
In a bid to seek CJI’s intervention in the matter, the students on a Facebook post said that their delegation will meet CJI Ranjan Gogoi and ask him to “exercise his special jurisdiction and go out of conventional way for stay on felling of trees in Aarey by Mumbai Authorities.”
The delegation thinks that that there is no time to file a petition in Supreme Court as the legalities will take time and by then the trees would be cleared off by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL).
The student delegation will visit CJI Gogoi’s residence around 3 pm today.
Over 1,000 trees have already been cut off on October 5. Twenty-nine activists protesting against the felling of trees were arrested on Saturday as prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC were imposed in the area near the metro-rail project site.
The families of those in judicial custody in a joint statement said, “Twenty-nine Mumbaikars comprising students, adivasis and professionals have been detained and sent to judicial custody for participating in the peaceful protest against cutting of trees in Aarey. The families of these detainees would like to share their concerns with the media and express their views on the events of the past two days.”
Protests were held late Friday night and continued during the wee hours of Saturday as authorities began cutting down trees at Aarey Colony to build the upcoming metro car shed.
Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) had started hacking trees from Friday hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of over 2,700 trees in the prime green lung of the city.
The Metro Bhavan, to be built at a cost of around Rs 13 crore, will be spread over 1.14 lakh sq metres in the lush green Aarey Colony, Goregaon. It has attracted stiff opposition from Mumbaikars, environmentalists and celebrities who fear huge loss of green cover due to the project.
The state government on September 20 told the court that Aarey Colony cannot be declared a forest just because of its greenery.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited in its argument told the court that the metro project is of utmost importance for the city.
“Every day 10 persons die due to overcrowding in local suburban trains. The Metro project will ease the pressure from the trains,” MMRCL counsel argued before the court.
Known as the Green lung of Mumbai, the Aarey Colony is situated near the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
Meanwhile, leaders including Jignesh Mevani, Aaditya Thackeray have shown their protest against the cutting of trees in Aarey Colony and have appealed to the people of Mumbai to resist the “illegal” action.
Young Shiv Sena leader and Worly seat contestant Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday came down heavily on the Mumbai metro authorities and extended his support to activists protesting against the felling of trees.
Thackeray took to Twitter and termed the felling down of trees as “shameful and disgusting” act which was carried out “in cover of night, with slyness.”
Many celebrities like actors Farhan Akhtar, Shraddha Kapoor and Dia Mirza raised their voice for Aarey on Twitter.