In another development, the panel formed by Maharashtra State Urban Development committee has submitted Aarey metro car shed report to the government. The Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government on December 11 had set up a committee to identify alternative land, if any, for the Metro car shed. As per sources, the report has stated that the other two places identified for shifting the metro car shed are not financially viable and therefore Aarey is the most likely spot for the car shed. It has also said that the rest of the land around Aarey be declared a green belt, sources informed.
The four-member panel is headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance). Other members of the panel include principle secretary (environment), managing director of Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), and chief conservator of Forests, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
In a massive move days after he came to power, Uddhav Thackeray on November 29 had announced that no more trees will be felled in the Aarey colony and had halted the car shed work. He had further said that construction will commence only after a thorough investigation is conducted on the project and a decision is taken.
"I have ordered to stop the work of Aarey metro car shed project today. Metro work will not stop but till next decision, not a single leaf of Aarey will be cut," he had said at a press conference.
Worli MP Aaditya Thackeray had then said that people of Mumbai are happy with this decision. "Development works will continue but the harm that was being done to the environment will be stopped."
Earlier on October 7, the Supreme Court put an interim stay on the felling of trees in Mumbai's Aarey to set up Metro car shed, asking the government to maintain status-quo after an appeal by students. "Don't cut anything now," said Supreme Court on Aarey forest for it to examine the matter further. A special bench of justices Arun Mishra and Ashok Bhushan started hearing the plea filed by a delegation of law students on the felling of trees. On December 16, this stay was extended.
However, the top court had clarified that there is no stay on construction of the Mumbai Metro car shed at Aarey Colony.
Uddhav Thackeray had also announced that the cases registered against green activists who tried to stop the felling of trees in Mumbai's Aarey Colony will be withdrawn. Cases were registered after clashes broke out between the police and green activists opposing axing of trees by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) in Aarey Colony in early October for construction of a metro car shed for the Metro-3 line.