Environment minister backs cutting of Mumbai\'s Aarey trees, cites Delhi Metro

Protests erupted after the Bombay High Court dismissed all petitions against the proposed cutting down of over 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony.

Lucknow: Amid ongoing public protests against the cutting of trees at Aarey colony in Mumbai, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday backed the proposed metro shed in Aarey forest area and said that development and environment protection should be done together.

Drawing parallels between the development of Delhi metro and Mumbai metro he said, "The High Court has ruled that Aarey is not a forest. Metro came to Delhi now today it is the best metro across the world. How does it develop? When the first metro station was constructed, 20-25 trees were cut down. People then protested against it".

"But metro has planted 5 trees for every single tree that it has taken down. Now, there are 271 stations. Forest undercover area has increased in Delhi. 30 lakh people are using the metro as public transport. This is the mantra of development and protecting the environment. Both should go together," the BJP leader said.

Protests erupted on Friday at Aarey forest area after the Bombay High Court dismissed all petitions against the proposed cutting down of over 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony of Mumbai to make way for a Metro car shed and refused to declare the colony as a forest.

BJP alliance partner Shiv Sena has attacked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for backing the metro shed.

Shiv Sena senior leader and Rajya Sabha lawmaker Sanjay Raut on Saturday morning posted a cartoon in which the BJP leader is blindfolding Lady Justice with a strip of cloth that reads, "Arey not a forest."

Party chief Uddhav Thackeray's son and Youth President Aaditya Thackeray asked Mumbai Metro to listen to sensible demands of sustainable development.
"A project that should be executed with pride, the Metro 3, @MumbaiMetro3 has to do it in the cover of the night, with shame, slyness and heavy cop cover. The project supposed to get Mumbai clean air, is hacking down a forest with a leopard, rusty-spotted cat and more," he tweeted.

Earlier, Fadnavis had said that the government is bound to cut trees in Mumbai's Aarey forest as "development is important".

"We do not wish to cut even a single tree in Aarey, but the development is also important. We will plant more trees in place of those cut. I will personally speak to Aditya Thackeray about this," he said.

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC imposed in the area near the metro-rail project site in Aarey forest.

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