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Midnight protests in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony as BMC begins hacking trees, over 100 detained

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.

SNS | New Delhi |

Hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed all the petitions challenging the felling of over 2700 trees to build an upcoming metro car shed, the Mumbai’s Aarey Colony witnessed hacking of trees in the area.

Protesters gathered at the spot asking why can’t the authorities wait until a petition can be filed in the Supreme Court regarding the matter.

Protests continued during the wee hours of Saturday as authorities began cutting down trees at Aarey Colony for the metro car shed. The protesters opposing the BMC tree authority’s decision entered the metro rail site as the municipal corporation began felling of trees. However, they were pushed back by the police and all roads leading to the car shed site have been barricaded.

According to reports, over 100 people have been detained and taken to different police stations.

Site of the proposed car shed saw heavy police deployment as hundreds of people gathered there late Friday night to stop trees from being hacked.

Activists have alleged that of over 2,600 trees which are to be felled, 200 had been cut by Friday night.

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.

Posts and tweets poured over social media platforms lambasting the Devendra Fadnavis government in Maharashtra as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation over the matter.

In a huge setback for environment activists, the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed all the petitions urging Aarey Colony to be declared as a forest and allowed felling of over 2,700 trees to build the upcoming metro car shed in the green belt.

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 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.