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Bombay High Court dismisses Aarey petitions, declares, ‘it’s not a forest’

The verdict is a huge setback for the crusaders who were against the government’s move and were protesting.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed all the petitions urging Aarey colony to be declared as a forest and felling of over 2,000 trees to build the upcoming metro car shed in Mumbai’s Colony.

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 verdict is a huge setback for the crusaders who were against the government’s move and were protesting. Their demand was to relocate the metro car depot, which is part of the Metro III project.

The court dismissed the petition filed by an NGO, Vanashakti. The petition asked to declare Aarey colony a forest. Another petition asking to stop the cutting of 2,700 trees to build a metro car shed has also been dismissed.

The petition was filed by environmental activist Zoru Bathena, Bathena reacting to the Court verdict said, “It’s a sad day for Aarey today. We will approach the Supreme Court.”

Known as the Green lung of Mumbai, the Aarey Colony is situated near the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

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.