Aarey Colony: Tree cutting begins after HC dismisses petitions, activists protest
(Image: Twitter)

Protests continued on Friday at Mumbai’s Aarey Colony where the authorities began cutting down trees for a metro car shed, merely hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed all petitions against the move.

What shocked many was the timing of the action, as it was dark but activists gathered at Aarey Colony after a video showing a tree being cut there was widely circulated on social media.

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

Reacting on the matter, Shiv Sena leader Aditya said, “A project that should be executed with pride, the Metro 3, has to do it in the cover of the night, with shame, slyness and heavy cop cover. The project supposed to get Mumbai clean air, is hacking down a forest with a leopard, rusty-spotted cat and more.”

Earlier on Friday, in a series of tweets he slammed the authorities and tweeted, “The vigour with which the Mumbai Metro is slyly and swiftly cutting down an ecosystem in Aarey is shameful and disgusting. How about posting these officials in PoK, giving them charge to destroy terror camps rather than trees?”

The site also has heavy police deployment as hundreds of people have gathered in the area to stop trees from being hacked.

A protester at the site said that it is saddening to see that the trees which provide life to others are being cut.

“This is happening when the government itself is urging people to plant more trees,” he said.

For the last two years, scores of locals including environmental activists have been opposing the cutting of trees.

On Friday, the Bombay High Court had dismissed all petitions against the proposed cutting down of over 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony of Mumbai to make way for a Metro car shed and refused to declare the colony as a forest.

A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre was hearing the matter.

The bench said, “The greens (environmentalists) fail in the instant petition because they have lost touch with the procedure to be followed as per law. The clock cannot be put back,”

“We do not make any comments thereon as the petitioner has to now swim or sink before the Supreme Court… The issue is pending before the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal. Hence, we are dismissing the petition on the principle of commonality and not on merits,” the bench added in its order.

Activists had approached the court last month to stall the government’s plan and are demanding the relocation of the bus depot, which is a part of the Metro III project.

Meanwhile, actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar had supported the Metro project.

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