In a move welcomed by activists, conservationists and wildlife lovers, the MMRDA has decided against felling another 2900 trees in Aarey colony to build the proposed casting yard for the upcoming 14.47-km Lokhandwala-Kanjurmarg corridor-6 Metro project. Although, the plan to cut down some 2,700 trees in Aarey is still on, the plan to acquire additional land for building the metro shed has been dropped. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had sought more land from the Aarey Colony, Mumbai’s green lungs, to build another casting yard for the upcoming metro projects, a move vociferously argued against by activists and wildlife enthusiasts. The Aarey Colony is home to thousands of tribals and indigent people, as well as hundreds of wildlife species and some the unique flora and fauna.This forest land is the only major green cover in the city, hence cutting it down would mean worsened condition in situations like floods, opined experts. The Maharashtra state government had given a green signal to MMRDA to clear up another portion of Aarey to build a casting yard, with chief minister Fadnavis defending the move stating that development and environment must be balanced.The MMRCL already possesses of 82 hectares of Aarey for an administrative building, a casting yard and card shed for Cuffe Parade-Seepz Metro 3. The Metro company had raised an additional request for 29,879 sq ft of land for a site office, labor camp and a casting yard for the Andheri-Kanjurmarg Metro-6 line, which would have meant felling of 2,702 trees. Despite major opposition by celebrities, citizens, conservationists and NGOs the Supreme Court said that the land cleared is not a part of the forest, while the minster opined that the afore-mentioned metro project will compensate for the ecological damage caused by the felling of trees, as it will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of commuting. With intensified and continued public protests, the MMRDA has now sought an alternate 28,000 sqft land parcel at Wadala to build its casting yard.
As reported by Indiatimes