Mumbai: Activists call meeting to save Aarey at any cost

By Ranjeet Jadhav

Updated: Apr 01, 2017, 08:27 IST

Expect support from political parties for the cause

With the government turning a blind eye to the efforts of NGOs and environmentalists in protecting the green cover in Aarey and the concerns raised against construction of the metro car shed in the area, those against the project have called for a meeting on Saturday to decide the future course of action.

Violation of order
The protest is once again gaining momentum after mid-day reported on March 31 (Metro begins soil testing in Aarey against NGT order) about the fact that even after the NGT rejected MMRC'S plea for soil testing in the area, contractors were found conducting the work using heavy machinery and with proper police bandobast on Thursday.

Speaking to mid-day, one of the members of Aarey Conservation Group, Biju Augustine said, "Till now we have been peacefully protesting against the construction of car depot at Aarey as it would have a negative impact on the area's biodiversity. Despite the fact that NGT ordered not to conduct any construction in the area, as the matter will be finally heard on April 10, MMRC went ahead and started the soil testing work. It is not only violation of orders but also misuse of power. We will conduct a meeting on Saturday with all the core team members and activists to decide on the future course of action."

What's the strategy?
Commenting on the issue, founder and member of Save Aarey Group, Manish Gadia said, "We are not against the metro project and development, but our only concern is that it should not be at the cost of the environment. We will chalk out a strategy at the meeting."

Some of the activists, who did not wish to be named, said that they were expecting the political parties to come out and raise the issue once again, the way they did before the BMC elections. "The parties had supported the cause and had even said that they would not allow any construction in Aarey as the forested patch needs to be protected. I hope they show their support once again as this is the time to prove to the government that they cannot take the public and their sentiments for granted," said an activist.


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