Aarey Controversy: Aaditya Thackeray urges Eknath Shinde govt to scrap Aarey metro project

4 July, 2022 | Pravina Srivastava

1 2022 07 04t141336448 748069 GLKFIi94 National

Aarey forest in Mumbai would be destroyed by the poorly designed project, claims Aaditya Thackeray

Aaditya Thackeray, the leader of the Shiv Sena, advised the recently seated Eknath Shinde Maharashtra Government on Sunday to abandon the Aarey metro project.

Aditya Thackeray tweeted, “I will be skipping the protest for Aarey Forest and the MMRCL property today since I have to attend the State Legislative Assembly’s meeting. I respectfully implore the future administration to rethink its choice. Don’t direct your animosity at us toward our beautiful Mumbai.”

His post was in response to protesters and environmentalists raising issues with the Metro-3 car shed project, which the newly elected Maharashtra government has planned to relocate to Mumbai’s Aarey forest.

The 1,800-acre Aarey forest is referred to be the “green lung” of the city.

In a series of tweet, the former Maharashtra Minister stated “Aarey is not just about the 2700+ trees; it is also about the biodiversity that it supports and that we want to preserve in Mumbai. Leopards and other smaller animals are frequently seen in and around the location of the auto shed. We’re happy to designate the surrounding forest on more than 800 acres “

He shared further concerns regarding the Aarey forest project saying “The work on the Line 3 was completely supported to be continued, but the car shed development was put on hold by the then-CM, Uddhav Thackeray ji. The GoI disputes the alternative placement of Kanjurmarg, yet it can accommodate depots for metro lines 3, 4, 6, and 14, saving money and time. In either case, Line 6 would require a vehicle shed, either at Pahadi Goregaon (which was initially considered in 2018) or at Kanjurmarg. After studying both, I can say that Line 3 can also use both. Metros require stabilizing lines, which Line 3 does not have. Metros do not return to the car shed after every journey.”

Aarey forest in Mumbai would be destroyed by the poorly designed project, claims Aaditya Thackeray.

“Better planning and sustainable development are the main topics here. This relates to Mumbai’s development and our decision to remain here rather than accepting a poorly thought-out project that will destroy our city’s Aarey Forest “Thackeray tacked on.

Amit Thackeray, president of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and the son of MNS leader Raj Thackeray, criticised the Shinde-Fadnavis camp for the choice and expressed dismay at it.

“For me and countless other environmental activists and supporters, the new government’s choice is stunning. The state’s youth had already fought valiantly against the action. Some even received jail time ” Thackeray said on social media.

He also emphasised that while growth is urgently needed, it must not come at the expense of the environment.

Additionally, he asked the state administration to rethink its choice.

Devendra Fadnavis, who was the chief minister of Maharashtra at the time, stated in September 2019 that the government is obligated to clear trees in the Aarey forest region of Mumbai because “development is necessary.”

In order to construct a vehicle shed for the Metro, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation revealed its intention to take down more than 2,700 trees from the Aarey area. Over 27 Adivasi communities may be found in the colony, which covers 13,000 hectares and is home to a number of different animal species.

However, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) and the state government verbally consented in September 2019 to the Bombay High Court’s oral order not to clear any trees in the Aarey forest region for the building of a metro car shed.

Bombay High Court later in October 2019 rejected all petitions challenging the intended removal of more than 2,500 trees from Mumbai’s Aarey Colony in order to create room for a Metro vehicle shed.

However, in response to widespread protests in the city, the Maharashtra government has suspended the decision for the Aarey metro car shed project.

In 2020, Uddhav Thackeray, the chief minister of Maharashtra at the time, declared that the state government has dropped charges against protesters over the planned metro car shed in Aarey.

The projected auto shed, he claimed, had been moved from Aarey to Kanjur Marg.