The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) started cutting trees late Friday night to make way for its car shed, hours after the Bombay High Court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of trees in the prime green lung of the city. Of over 2,600 trees which are to be felled, 200 had been cut by Friday night, activists alleged. Videos of tree-felling went viral on social media, though it could not be confirmed from Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation officials if indeed tree cutting for the planned metro car shed in Aarey had begun. The protest was supported by members of Aam Aadmi Party as well as Shiv Sena scion Aaditya Thackeray who criticised the alleged move in a series of tweet.
Bollywood celebrities took to their social media handles to express their disappointment and anger on this move. Actor Farhan Akhtar wrote that it was a 'pathetic attempt' to cut trees at night. 'Saaho'actress Shraddha Kapoor who has been actively protesting against this decision and was also seen joining Mumbai protestors sometime back, also posted a series of pictures and articles on her Instagram handle saying: "This is wrong and should not be happening" and "Mumbaikars wake up".
400 trees have been cut in the dead of the night. As citizens sang and joined hands in unity pleading to STOP this massacre. Can’t you see they are UNITED by love!?! Love for nature. Love for our children and our future. #Aarey #ClimateAction #ActNow #ChangeIsComing pic.twitter.com/7XCwSeaqDT— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) October 5, 2019
Actor Dia Mirza who is a UN Goodwill Ambassador also wrote that 400 trees were cut in 'the dead of the night' and Richa Chadha, who is also an environment lover posed and raised questions on her Twitter handle. She asked, "Who gets rich(er) because of this metro car shed? Everything about this is shady from the get-go, including how the first signatures for the tree felling were obtained."
All this for a carshed - which is basically like a parking lot for the Metro. Stealing oxygen from the lungs of citizens. https://t.co/lNf1EHXDJa— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) October 5, 2019
If you're a parent and not seriously angered about this shady tree felling I'm the night, lemme know how you feel about looking your kids in their eyes. https://t.co/2FIZvW1q23— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) October 5, 2019
Yami Gautam, Urmila Matondkar, Pooja Bhatt and other celebrities raised their concern.
In a fair,ethical,just and humane world it should be the other way around. The state should be protecting the trees from the men with machetes who arrive cloaked in darkness. Alas,this is the world we live in. One without a moral compass & conscience. God help us all! 💔 https://t.co/5jA63cx8Yy— Pooja Bhatt (@PoojaB1972) October 5, 2019
Earlier on Saturday, Section 144 was imposed in the area from the entrance into Aarey to Marol Maroshi Road. Protests in Aarey colony broke out after the authorities from Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) started cutting trees in the area following Bombay High Court's dismissal of all petitions challenging the felling of trees. Of over 2,600 trees which are to be felled, 200 had been cut by Friday night, activists alleged. Videos of tree-felling went viral on social media. The protest was supported by members of Aam Aadmi Party as well as Shiv Sena leaders including scion Aaditya Thackeray, who criticised the move in a series of tweets.