The Maharashtra unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged on Saturday that the state government led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had joined hands to massacre 1800 trees in Aarey colony. It condemned the heavy-handed tactics of the police who reportedly engaged in lathi charge and arrested young people. Earlier, the Bombay High Court dismissed all petitions challenging the action of the Tree Authority of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in allowing the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) to cut down 2,656 trees in the area. As the trees began to be felled during the night on Friday immediately after the court judgement, many people thronged the site in protest.
The national joint secretary of AAP, Ruben Mascarenhas stated that they were not at all opposed to the Mumbai Metro 3 project. However, he called for a balance between development and climate safety.
"AAP like each and every Mumbaikar wants the metro. India is capable of great engineering feats. The extensive Delhi metro network did not damage the fragile Aravalli range and nor did the marvelous Konkan Railway disturb the western ghats. We just expect the same in Mumbai, a balance between development and climate safety,” he said.
Preeti Sharma Menon, the national spokesperson of AAP, decried the alleged hypocrisy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She also lambasted the role of BJP’s alliance partner Shiv Sena. Furthermore, she claimed that no other party barring for AAP was working on the ground in Maharashtra. The party promised to continue their fight to save Aarey forest and provide legal help to those detained and arrested in this cause.
She opined, "On one hand Narendra Modi espouses environmental causes on world platforms, on the other Devendra Fadnavis shows cold apathy on protecting Maharashtra's capital city from environmental disasters. The use of excessive force by Devendra Fadnavis is proof that he is aware, that his actions are against the best interests of Mumbaikars. Even more despicable is the role of the Shiv Sena, whose leaders tweet and take press conferences on one hand and on the other it is their own Shiv Sena led BMC which has executed the massacre. Sadly, the opposition is also dead in Maharashtra and except for the Aam Aadmi Party, there was no one working on the ground."
(With agency inputs)