The Maharastra Government on Wednesday decided to declare 600 acres of land as a reserve forest in Aarey Milk Colony near Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai. It has applied section 4 of the Indian Forest Act (IFA). The whole land would be designated as a reserve forest to conserve it.
Aaditya Thackeray, the Maharashtra Environment and Tourism Minister in a series of tweets said that a meeting was held by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray with the Aarey, Forest and Environment departments. Application of section 4 of the IFA has been decided upon an approx. of 600 acres of land in Aarey near SGNP. Hence, it would be declared as a reserve forest after listening and discussing the suggestions and objections.
The authorities will take a survey for more open and forest land in Aarey in the next phase of this project.“This would help the state protect the flora and fauna existent in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Aarey,” the environment minister added.
CM Uddhav Thackeray Claims that this would be the first instance of an extensive forest blossoming within the limits of a metropolis around the globe. This decision was made in the meeting held by the CM which was attended by the Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod, Aaditya Thackeray, Eknath Shinde Urban development Minister and Sanjay Kumar the Chief Secretary, as per the data by PTI.
The first phase of the project will not include the construction of all types, roads, slums, Adivasi pockets and government facilities.
This decision was made after the CM’s meeting for deciding a place for the construction of the metro car shed inside Aarey, in which he asked the officials to search for alternatives for this facility.
The proposal of building a metro car shed in Aarey Colony on 30 hectares of land had received a rigid objection from the citizens. The concerned citizens wanted to protect the last green lung of Mumbai from concretisation. A protest was held in October against the move to cut down the trees by the authorities. 38 people were booked in this protest. The Bombay High Court dismissed a series of petitions to stop this work and give it the status of a forest.
However, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited claimed that they would compensate by planting saplings of thrice the number of trees that they cut, elsewhere. The protestors demanded to move the site of the car shed. Although, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited had already cut 2,141 trees in Aarey to make space for the car shed, in October.
Simply saying the Maharashtra government has pronounced that the Metro 3 car shed will not be constructed in the Aarey as it would disturb the natural habitat of several wild animals like leopards and would destroy the green lung of the city.
Even after the state government panel committee’s report, that stated Aarey as the only choice for this project is now searching for alternative sites.
Image Credit- One India