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'New Destruction Inevitable': Under Fire, Mumbai Metro Chief Defends Felling of Trees in Aarey

'New Destruction Inevitable': Under Fire, Mumbai Metro Chief Defends Felling of Trees in Aarey

Over 1,000 trees were felled in Aarey on Saturday for the Metro rail project despite vociferous protests as clashes broke out between the police and green activists, leading to arrest of at least 29 persons.

Mumbai: Under fire over the decision to fell more than 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony, Mumbai Metro chief Ashwini Bhide on Sunday termed the move “inevitable”.

Taking to Twitter, Bhide said: "Sometimes to construct something new destruction becomes inevitable but it also paves the way for new life and new creation.”

The police on Saturday imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aarey, restricting movements and gathering of groups, and cordoned off the area. Activists tried to get relief from the Bombay High Court, by approaching it again and seeking a stay to tree cutting but the bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and AK Menon refused to relent.

Over 1,000 trees were felled in Aarey on Saturday for the Metro rail project despite vociferous protests as clashes broke out between the police and green activists, leading to arrest of at least 29 persons.

Apart from the 29 arrested, 55 were also detained, including NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi, Sena leader and former Mayor Shubha Raul, from the protest site.

The protests began on Friday evening when MMRCL, within hours of the High Court dismissing four petitions challenging the permission granted by the civic body's tree authority to fell about 2700 trees, started the tree cutting under the cover of darkness.

The photos and videos from the midnight protest were widely shared on social media. Celebrities, politicians — including the BJP's Maharashtra ally Shiv Sena — slammed the government for the move to clear Mumbai's 'Green Lung'.

On Sunday, a delegation of students will visit CJI Ranjan Gogoi's residence in Delhi and request him to exercise his special jurisdiction and “go out of the conventional way to put a stay on the felling of trees in Aarey by Mumbai Authorities”.

first published:October 06, 2019, 13:37 IST