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As Axe Falls on Over 1,000 Aarey Trees, Environment Minister Javadekar Cites Delhi Metro Example

The minister was asked about Mumbai Metro hacking trees late Friday night to make way for a car shed, hours after the high court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of trees.

News18.com

Updated:October 5, 2019, 8:26 PM IST
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As Axe Falls on Over 1,000 Aarey Trees, Environment Minister Javadekar Cites Delhi Metro Example
File photo of Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar.

Lucknow: Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday defended the felling of trees at Aarey Colony in north Mumbai even as protests raged in the city, saying that as per the High Court ruling, it is "not a forest area".

"The greens (environmentalists) have failed," the Bombay High Court said on Friday while refusing to declare Aarey colony a forest and also declining to quash the BMC tree authority's decision allowing felling of over 2,600 trees in the green zone to set up a metro carshed.

The BMC started the tree felling in the cover of darkness on Friday night and over a 1,000 trees have already been cut.

"The High Court has ruled yesterday that it is not a forest. You can't fell anything that is forest," he said at a press conference, stating that people had also protested felling of trees for Delhi Metro.

"There was a need to fell 20 to 25 trees for setting up the first metro station in Delhi and then also people had similarly opposed it. But for each tree that was cut five saplings were planted," he said.

Javadekar said the forest cover in the national capital has increased since then and public transport system has also improved. "This is the mantra of 'vikas bhi, paryavaran ki suraksha bhi' (development with environment protection)," the BJP leader said.

The minister was asked about Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd hacking trees late Friday night to make way for a car shed, hours after the high court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow felling of trees.

On Saturday, police imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aarey Colony and surrounding areas, banning unlawful assembly, following strong protests by activists against the felling of trees in the green zone for a Metro car shed. The police also arrested 29 people and registered FIRs against 40.

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