Mumbai: In a major setback for Aarey Forest crusaders, the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed all petitions against the felling of over 2,500 trees for a Mumbai metro depot.
Activists had been opposing the proposed felling of 2,700 trees in Aarey to make way for the metro car shed and demanding relocation of the depot, which is part of the Metro III project.
The Aarey colony, measuring 1,287 hectares and located adjoining the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is known as a major green lung of the metropolis. Several Bollywood personalities and politicians had also extended their support to the activists protesting against the feeling of trees in Aarey.
On September 20, the Maharashtra government had told the court that Aarey cannot be declared a forest just because of its greenery.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited had argued in court that the project was of paramount importance for the city. "Every day 10 persons die due to overcrowding in local suburban trains. The Metro project will ease the pressure from the trains," MMRCL counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni had said.
Reacting to the judgment, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said: “We strongly believe that Aarey cannot be replaced... It’s unfortunate and we will go against this.”
Activist Zoru Bhathena, who had challenged the decision to cut the trees, said: “Extremely saddened to get this news. We will take this fight forward. It’s a sad day for Aarey today. We will approach the Supreme Court.”