Tree Authority decides to cut 2,702 trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony

Tree Authority on Thursday sanctioned proposal to remove 2,702 trees from Aarey to make way for the Metro 3 car shed. Out of the  2,702 trees, 2,238 will be axed while the rest will be transplanted.

The Tree Authority consist of six members  from the Shiv Sena, four from the BJP, two of Congress, one from NCP and five independent  experts.

The proposal received backing from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and five independent tree experts.

Subhash Patane, an expert member of the committee said “The MMRC has agreed to plant six times the trees that will be cut in Aarey. We have suggested technicalities for transplantation too. We are not against the project but environmental balance is needed.”

Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena slammed their partner, the BJP government over this proposal.

Standing committee chairman and Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav said: “Even as the BJP has been urging people to plant more trees, it also supports the axing of trees. We will approach the court over this decision.”

Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray, too expressed his disappointment.

“Shiv Sena continued its stand and voted against hacking of trees in Aarey and fought to find alternative site for metro carshed which is available. We all want sustainable development. What use are trees anyway? And of course when the metro needs more money later, we have Aarey to commercially exploit, who needs oxygen? Even the court appointed experts feel the same!”, Thackeray tweeted.

As per the 1975 Act, it is necessary to obtain prior permission of Tree Authority for cutting trees. Illegal cutting of trees attracts a minimum fine of Rs. 1,000 or one week of punishment. However, the police fail to penalise people for such crimes.

TPE Questions:

1. Doesn’t the environment weigh more important in these tough times of climate change than development?

2. What about the birds and fauna living on these trees? Don’t they have a say?

3. If the project goes ahead, where would the Municipal cooperation plant 13,428 trees (six times the trees that they will cut)? Does the body have vacant land, a concrete plan for the maintenance of 13,428 new seedlings?

4. Does it not expose the hypocrisy of political parties who back this proposal and later talk about environment, climate change and global warming?

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