More than 400 residents of Aarey Colony formed a human chain around the site proposed for the Metro III car shed and climbed over the JCB machines on Sunday morning while protesting against the landfilling that has begun at the site. More than half of the 30 hectares set aside for the project has been levelled and filled with soil .
The decision to cut 2,298 trees for the project has been deferred by the civic body’s Tree Authority, but citizens are irked at the levelling and landfilling activities at the site.
According to MMRCL’s proposal, a total of 2,298 trees are obstructing the proposed car shed plan for Metro III and need to be transplanted and cut. Of the 2,298 trees, as many as 2,044 can be transplanted while 254 need to be cut.
Residents gathered at Aarey picnic spot and discussed plans to intensify their agitation to demand a meeting with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
“Destroying the green space is not a feasible solution. We need to get the CM on board to understand what we stand to lose in Aarey. If we do not get a meeting, we plan to sit outside Varsha or enter Mantralaya in large numbers with our demands,” said environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal, a researcher with Observer Research Foundation.
However, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) does have the requisite permission for fencing, clearing the plot (except cutting of trees) and shifting of water lines for the proposed car shed at Aarey.
To avoid the cutting of trees, the Save Aarey Community has suggested building the car shed on the Mumbai Port Trust land, or by reclaiming land in Colaba, akin to the procedure to be followed for the Coastal Road project.
The 33.5 km long corridor is underground and space is required only for entry-exit points and some amenities.