Mumbai Unites Against Midnight Tree Felling At Aarey, 200 Detained & Section 144 Imposed

Days after the Maharashtra state government and MMRDA decided to clear Mumbai’s green lungs for constructing a depot for Mumbai metro at Aarey, the city saw a huge number of protestors including several Bollywood celebs protesting the move. The massive public outrage and multiple petitions did force the authorities to move the metro casting yard to land in Wadala.

The tree authority of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) however later granted Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) permission to chop down 2,646 trees – 2,185 to be cut and 461 to be transplanted for the Metro III car shed.

Amidst all this, a new development has seen the light of the day, which is certainly not a good one for the forest crusaders. In a major setback, the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed all petitions against the felling of over 2,500 trees for a Mumbai metro depot. Following the high court’s order, authorities were quick to act on the order and began cutting trees late last night. However, this did not go unnoticed.

Several people managed to enter the proposed site of the metro depot.

According to News 18, around 200 protestors, activists and locals protesting the felling of trees were also detained. The Mumbai Police have also reportedly imposed section 144 of the CrPC at Aarey Colony and blocked all roads into the colony. As many as 25 protestors were arrested following the imposition of Section 144 of the IPC. However, activists have been claiming that the felling of trees was illegal as the proper procedure was not followed.

Protesters also claimed that trees can be cut only after 15 days of uploading permission to cut them. They also alleged that at least 1,000 trees were chopped by the end of the day.

Responding to the allegations, Managing Director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited Ashwini Bhide said it’s a new false propaganda.

Several activists, politicians and celebs took to Twitter to share their disappointment on the felling of trees:

Amidst the various environmental crisis that the country is facing today, it is sad that the authorities are turning a blind eye to them and furthering deforestation.

Cover image: left, right