Days after the Arrey controversy, the BJP government once again came under Opposition's hammer after several green trees were allegedly cut for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in poll-bound Maharashtra's Pune. NCP MP Vandana Chavan alleged that some 'subabul' trees around the SirParshuram (SP) College ground, where the rally will be held today, were felled by the college administration.
However, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar defended the alleged cutting of trees for Modi's rally, saying that this wasn't anything new and such things have been done for other prime ministers too.
"Every time we cut trees, we plant more. It is a rule of the forest department," Javadekar told reporters in Mumbai. "And why is there so much fuss about cutting of trees for Modi's rally? Trees have been cut for rallies of others too, and for rallies of previous prime ministers. I wonder why there was no such awareness previously," he added.
The college authorities, meanwhile, claimed that the trees were not felled but only certain branches hanging dangerously were cut for the safety of students who play there, which has nothing to do with the prime minister's event.
Recently, massive protests were erupted in Mumbai against Fadnavis government's decision to cut thousands of trees in Aarey Colony for a new car shed for Mumbai Metro. Several activists who tried to protect the trees were thrown in jail by Mumbai police and prohibitory orders were imposed in the area. The felling of trees was stopped by the Supreme Court but by the time thousands of them had been cut already.
The order for status quo was given by a bench specially constituted after the apex court took suo motu (on its own) cognizance of a letter petition addressed to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by law student Rishav Ranjan seeking a stay on felling of trees in the colony.