Battle of Aarey: SC to adjudicate

New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) Since its establishment as a milk colony in 1949, Mumbais Aarey area has undergone many changes but has succeeded in maintaining its biodiversity.

The same Aarey colony has been in news lately over the felling of trees for construction related to Mumbai Metro rail, triggering a development-versus- environment debate.

There were protests over cutting of trees, with those opposing the Metro authorities’ step arguing that it is a forest area.

Construction of Film City in 1977, then a zoo and now a Metro rail car shed in Aarey, environmentalists say and add that continuation of these activities would lead to extensive alteration of its landscape.

The dispute on the contention continues and the matter is now before the Supreme Court for adjudication.

A Special Vacation Bench of Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine the pleas of activists who sought protection of the unclassified forest from various construction activities. The top court directed the Maharashtra government to maintain status quo and not cut any trees further till October 21, the next date fixed for hearing.

The special bench was constituted after consideration of a letter written by a law student Rishav Ranjan to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, requesting him to intervene in the matter.

The Bombay High Court on October 4 gave green signal to Maharashtra government to cut the trees for Metro-related construction, while dismissing a plea filed by conservationist Zoru Darius Bathena.

The dispute dates back to March 2015 when the Maharashtra government appointed a technical committee of six members to look into the issue of setting up of Metro Car Depot at Aarey Colony from the ecological point of view.


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