#SaveAarey has been all over social media with people expressing their anger and discontent over the cutting of trees in Aarey Colony. Many of them again expressed their anger by exercising the NOTA option in the elections held a few days ago.
Our “democracy” says it works for the people but what about when thousands of people have come out on the streets with placards and slogans demanding their voices to be heard against a major environmentally threatening step taken by the government? What kind of democracy is it which does not reflect the anguish of people? The party which headed the government responsible for cutting 2000 trees mercilessly gets re-elected into power!
A 65 year old gardener at Aarey says “I have raised them like my own children. It would be a shame if something were to happen to them.”
He says 400 saplings and trees were transplanted from areas where trees were felled to make way for the Metro.
On October 3rd 2019, the Bombay High Court agreed for the massacre of thousands of trees for the construction of a card shed for Mumbai Metro 3. It upheld the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Tree Authority’s approval to cut 2,646 trees at the Aarey Milk Colony.
According to the Protection and Preservation Act of Trees of 1975, any tree cut in the city needs a permission and that permission has to be uploaded in the public domain 15 days prior to the cutting of trees. But what happened instead?
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) pulled off an all-nighter to fell over 2,100 trees.
The MMRC claimed it had already planted 24,000 trees at Aarey and the neighbouring Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). But the gardener and his colleagues admitted that the plants didn’t take well to their new rooting spot and died.
He said, “I had once asked my superiors to give me 150 nets to fence the saplings. They gave me only 50. As I had feared, the cattle fed on the rest.”
The gardener was instructed to plant trees at a distance of 8 feet from each other when trees like Arjuna can grow up to 70 ft. “It would take years for it to grow out that long. I won’t even be around till then.” Do you think the canopies would be able to survive when planted so close to each other? Don’t you think they already know that?
Over 150 protesters were arrested for allegedly obstructing police personnel!!!! Obstructing them from what?? Protecting and saving the Lungs of Mumbai is a crime!!
On 6th October 2019, the court ordered the release of protesters on certain conditions, including production of personal surety of 7,000 rupees and assurance that they would not take part in protests.
Ashwini Bhide, managing director of MMRC tweeted “Sometimes to construct something new destruction becomes inevitable but it also paves the way for new life and new creation.” What is this new life? What about the exponentially increasing polluted air that this life is breathing?
An Indian Institute of Science (IIT) published a study in 2017 showing that almost 94% of the city had been concretised in the past 40 years which has made us lose 60% of vegetation and 65% of its water bodies.
There is widespread anger against the government and its anti – people policies. #fakedemocracy is trending with people agitating over the recent events.
Lok Raj Sangathan along with various organisations has participated in protests against the tree cutting. There is a desperate need to build unity amongst our people fighting battles in various places. Only collectively shall we put an end to this ruthless and draconian action of the State against our people. Elections will not.