To: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis; Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Chief Praveen Pardeshi
2,702 trees in Mumbai’s Aarey forest, Mumbai's green lungs, will be axed for a car shed for Mumbai Metro-3.
We demand that Aarey forest be left alone, and that Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) consider alternate locations for the metro car shed.
Update - October 5, 2019
Following a High Court order allowing the cutting of the trees, MMRCL and BMC officials began chopping the trees on the night of October 4th. Protesters were detained, the area was barricaded, and in two days, 2,100 trees were cut. On October 7th, the Supreme Court's vacation bench stayed the cutting of the trees. The car shed work continues.
Update - August 29, 2019
The BMC's Tree Authority went back on its decision to defer Mumbai Metro's proposal to cut 2238 trees in Aarey Colony, by passing it on August 29. Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav said while the Shiv Sena was against the deforestation, BJP and NCP was in favour of it.
MILESTONE - August 8, 2019
A month after their public hearing, the BMC's Tree Authority is set to defer Mumbai Metro's proposal to cut 2,702 trees in Aarey Colony. While the decision to cut these trees has not been scrapped altogether, this is a big milestone for Mumbai's citizens.
Update - July 8, 2019
The BMC held a public hearing to hear citizens objections' on the cutting/ transplanting of 2702 trees for a Metri car shed. The hearing was attended by over 800 citizens, and they received over 82,000 emails (including 73,000 from Jhatkaa.org members) against the tree cutting. They will release a report in a few weeks.
Update - April 15, 2019
The Supreme Court dismissed an application filed by Aarey Conservation Group seeking alternative sites for the Metro car shed proposed to come up at Aarey Colony. The bench said that alternative options had been looked into and found unviable by MMRCL and a state-appointed technical committee.
For over three years now, environmentalists from various organisations, along with activists, students and citizens, have been putting up a tough fight to protect Aarey forest and safeguard our future. However, now these green crusaders have been barred from entering the location where the work for the metro car shed has already begun. Over a 100 trees have already been chopped.
An air quality measurement by System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) found Mumbai’s Air Quality Index to be at 244 (‘poor’) -- higher even than Delhi which fell from 204 to 183 (‘moderate’). In fact, PM2.5 levels in Mumbai, recorded at 109, were almost twice the safe limit.
It is a well known fact that green cover in cities can help tackle rising air pollution -- The Nature Conservancy’s study reports how urban trees can remove up to a quarter of PM pollution within a few meters, and can even function as a barrier for local residents, filtering bad air.
When government officials and citizens all over the world are investing in tree plantation drives to tackle air pollution and climate change, MMRCL is determined to fell thousands of trees for a metro car shed.
Aarey forest is part of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, and supports an entire ecosystem of its own, with a rich biodiversity. An ecosystem like this takes hundreds of years to build up, and cannot be re-planted over night.
We are not against the expansion of the metro in Mumbai, but an ecologically sensitive area like Aarey forest, which functions are the largest natural air purifier for the city, cannot be cleared for the metro car shed. There are plenty of non-residential, and industrial locations for the metro car shed to be constructed -- but, not at the cost of Mumbai’s lungs. The MMRCL went ahead without waiting for the National Green Tribunal to pass its verdict on declaring Aarey as a forest.
If enough people lend their voice to our fight for clean air, we can put pressure on the CM to relocate the metro car shed.