As protests are intensifying over felling of trees in Aarey Colony, Mumbai civic body chief Praveen Pardeshi defended cutting Aarey trees, a prominent green lung in the metropolis, saying that it has more trees than London, Tokyo or New York.
Pardeshi was speaking at an event at a university in Mumbai. He also brushed aside suggestions by activists to shift the proposed car shed to another area, arguing that the cost of acquiring and developing this plot was very high.
Instead he pinned the responsibility of slower development on people who “were holding back metro plans due to collective pressure.”
“Mumbai has the least space to develop at present. All of Mumbai lives in 29.99 per cent area. Whatever is happening in metro today is your collective pressure,” Pardeshi said.
While activists have routinely contended that infrastructure development by cutting trees and gobbling up open spaces was leading to floods in the city, Pardeshi retorted, “Is the car depot (at Aarey) up already? If not, then why have there been floods?”
The BMC chief defended the decision to raze down more trees saying, “”Mumbai has a higher number of trees compared to other cities, be it London, Tokyo or New York.”
According a recent report, MMRDA has now sought an alternate land parcel at Wadala in the southeastern periphery of the megapolis.
Activists and environmentalists have been protesting daily against the state’s proposal to fell around 2,900 more trees in the city’s green lung Aarey Colony, which is home to thousands of tribals and hundreds of wildlife species, apart from the unique flora and fauna, to build a casting yard for the 14.47-km Lokhandwala-Kanjurmarg corridor-6.
“We have decided to take up 28,000 sqft of land in the Wadala area to build the casting yard for the metro line 6,” an MMRDA official told PTI.
He said that no land is being sought from the Aarey Milk Colony.
Last week, the state had given a go ahead to MMRDA to clear up another portion of Aarey to build a casting yard, which would have led to the feeling of close to 2,900 more trees as it was seeking an additional 2,775 sqmt land.