On Saturday, BJP fired a salvo at Shiv Sena over the Tree Authority of the BMC approving the felling of more than 150 trees for the Mumbai Metro 2A project. At present, the Sena is in power in the BMC having its own Mayor Kishori Pednekar. Pointing this out, former BJP Lok Sabha MP Kirit Somaiya reminded Shiv Sena that it was the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government which stayed the construction of the Mumbai Metro 3 car shed in Aarey to “save trees”. Claiming that this had caused a loss of Rs.1,000 crore, he questioned the Sena for not lifting the ban on the car shed construction.
Kirit Somaiya remarked, “The Tree Authority of the Shiv Sena-led Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has given the permission to remove 508 trees for the Mumbai Metro 2A project. 162 trees will be cut. On the other hand, it has been 100 days since the construction of Metro car shed in Aarey has been halted in the name of ‘saving trees’. There has been a loss of Rs. 1000 crore but the ban has not been lifted. Uddhav, your government is weird.”
शिवसेना मुंबई महानगरपालिकेच्या वृक्ष प्राधिकरण समितीने काल मुंबई मेट्रो २ मधील ५०८ झाडे काढून टाकण्यासाठी परवानगी दिली— Kirit Somaiya (@KiritSomaiya) March 14, 2020
यात १६२ झाडं कापलीही जाणार आहेत.
१०० हून अधिक दिवस झाले तरी,
वृक्ष संवर्धनाखाली दिलेली आरे कारशेडची स्थगिती अद्यापही उठवण्यात आली नाही.
उध्दवा, अजब तुझे सरकार pic.twitter.com/XQydxbwFgp
The construction of the 18-km long Mumbai Metro 2A (Dahisar-DN Nagar) project began in October 2016. In 2019, the BMC had issued a public notice asking residents to submit their suggestions and objections on the possibility of cutting trees. It is expected that the trees will be removed from Oshiwara, Kandivali, and Dahisar. Interestingly, Shiv Sena along with NCP and Congress had opposed the proposal for the felling of trees on the last two occasions.
Widespread protests had been going on to protest against the Aarey land being used for the purpose of building a car shed for Mumbai Metro 3. As the Bombay High Court upheld the permission granted by the Brihanmumbai Mumbai Corporation’s (BMC) Tree Authority in October, over 2,185 trees were razed overnight. This led to a petition in the SC that ordered a freeze on the cutting of any more trees till further orders.
One of the first decisions of the MVA government was to stop the work of the Aarey metro car shed project. The Maharashtra CM asserted that a single leaf of Aarey would not be cut. Subsequently, the report submitted by a 4-member panel constituted by the MVA government in January 2020 recommended that Aarey was the best possible site for the construction of the car shed as the other alternative places were not financially viable.