In this editorial, articles published in The Hindu, The Indian Express, Business Line etc. are analyzed. In this article the protests and issues related to Aare forests are also discussed. In-place team vision inputs are also included, as needed.
The felling of thousands of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Milk Colony has given rise to a new debate on environmental protection and climate change in the country, thousands have rallied under the Aare Bachao Andolan in the country’s financial capital and have come out on the streets to register their protest Are doing In such a situation, it becomes imperative that we can get new dimensions of development by ignoring the environment? It is worth mentioning that due to Aarey forests, Mumbai is among the unique metropolises in the world, which contains concrete forests as well as a real forest.
Why is there a protest?
- The dispute began in March 2015 when the Maharashtra government appointed a six-member technical committee to look into issues related to the establishment of the metro car shed at Aarey Colony.
- On 12 June 2015, environmental experts expressed their dissatisfaction saying that the trees in Aarey Colony should be saved without any compromise, as this is a very desirable ecological zone of Mumbai.
- On 29 August 2019, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) obtained permission from the Tree Authority of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to cut 2,185 trees and transplant 460 trees for its projects.
- Protests to save the forests of Aarey began when the Bombay High Court on 5 October 2019 also allowed the Mumbai Metro to cut trees to build a car shed for the metro.
- The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) started cutting down trees in Aarey forests just hours after a court order, triggering widespread protests and under which Mumbai police arrested several environmental activists and protesters did.
- On the cutting of trees in Aare, the Government of Maharashtra says that this work is essential for development in the state and Mumbai Metro will provide an environmentally friendly means of transport to the residents of the state.
- At the same time, the protesters say that they will never support such development, which costs the environment.
Metro is not opposed
Environmental activists and those involved in Aare Bachao Andolan say that they are not opposing the metro in the state, but they are opposing the cutting of trees in such large numbers. He says that Aare’s decision to build a station in the forests is ridiculous, because the number of people living around these forests is very less and those who live have nothing to do with it.
History of aare jungles
- At the time of independence, Mumbai was developing at a very good pace, it was the most preferred city of businessmen.
- It is known that for the development of any city it is necessary to have adequate supply of agricultural produce, most of which can be brought from long distance but some have to be brought from the local areas and milk is one such Is the only thing.
- Keeping this need in mind, Aarey Milk Colony was developed.
- Aarey Milk Colony was established in the year 1949 and inaugurated by the then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in the year 1951 and it was designed by N. It was done by Khorodi.
- After this, in just a few years, so many trees were planted in this area that this area spread over 3166 acres area looked like a forest.
Why are you important
- A report released in March this year revealed that Mumbai was the most polluted city in Maharashtra and 27th nationally in terms of pollution.
- In June this year, the government, presenting the figures of the Central Pollution Control Board before the Lok Sabha, said that the air quality of the year 2018 in Mumbai was the worst compared to the last 20 years.
- It is noteworthy that many environmental experts of Mumbai also term the Aare forests as the lungs of the state.
- This milk colony, established in the year 1949, has about 77 species of birds and about 46 species of snakes. Also, 86 different species of butterflies are found in this area.
- Recently a new species of spider and scorpion has also been discovered under this area.
- The region has an amazing diversity of flora with 0.4 million trees.
- Here species that have been previously declared extinct have been rediscovered
There is no forest
Looking at the history of the saw, it is known that it was established mainly for commercial activities, but with time, so many trees were planted here that it started to look like a forest. At present, there are more than 4 lakh trees, an active ecosystem, rare birds and animals, lakes, farms as well as some tribal communities. It is important to note that all these characteristics can be seen in any one common forest. In 2015, an NGO named Vanashakti filed a petition in the National Green Tribunal urging that the saws be declared “forest”, but this petition was dismissed in September 2018. Apart from this, many other petitions filed in this context are still pending.
- The proposed car shed will have facilities like washing, maintenance and repair of the metro.
- The metro car shed is a ‘red category’ industry, causing a significant amount of pollution.
Those involved in the demonstration say that oil, grease and electricity are generated in the activities in the shed, besides hazardous materials such as acid and paint, which can ruin the saw’s ecosystem.
- He says that the waste of the shed will flow into the nearby Mithi river and it will pollute the river as well as ground water.
- Apart from this, the construction of shed will increase the exploitation of ground water resources in particular area.
Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation’s favor
- According to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, the proposed car shed will be set up in only 33 hectares, which is barely 2 percent of the total area of saws.
- The corporation says that no other part of the saw will be affected except the 33 hectares earmarked for the shed.
- Also, Metro has argued that the project will also help in achieving environmental benefits by reducing overall carbon footprint.
- It has been estimated by the corporation that 7 days of Metro operations will be able to cut carbon dioxide as much as 2700 trees together in one year.
It is true that in the absence of a strong infrastructural structure, it is relatively difficult for any society to develop, but by following this fact, the environment cannot be completely ignored. Therefore, it is necessary that if there is a conflict between the development of the country and the environment, then this issue should be considered with discretion and look for alternative paths that will keep us in the new direction of development keeping in mind the environment.