Just a few hours after the Bombay High Court on Friday refused to declare Aarey Colony a forest area, the authorities have reportedly begun cutting trees in the area. A video that shows trees being cut is going viral on social media and people claimed that the footage is of the Aarey area. Soon after that, some people gathered at the site to protest against the move. MLA leader Jignesh Mevani also took to Twitter and appealed people to resists the illegal action.
"Urgent request to Mumbaikars: Authorities have already started cutting trees in Aarey after the order passed by the BHC today. Citizens are reaching Aarey forest to stop this. I request Mumbaikars to reach and resist this move right now," he tweeted.
This is Mumbai..— #SaveMumbaiforest (@SaveMumbaifore1) October 4, 2019
Protesting against tree cut in Aarey colony..
Unlike conspiracies in dark, these tree cut is done n over 100 trees are suspected to be cut in just2 hours... #SaveAareyForest @ReallySwara @PritishNandy @suchetadalal @Simi_Garewal @Chinmayi @SethShruti pic.twitter.com/aCYKUH80T4
The development comes on a day the Bombay High Court refused to declare Aarey Colony a forest area and also declined to quash a BMC decision allowing felling of over 2,600 trees in the suburban green zone for a metro car shed.
A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and environment activists related to Aarey Colony in Goregaon, a major green lung of the metropolis.
The division bench dismissed a plea by the city-based NGO Vanshakti to declare Aarey Colony a forest area. "The issue is pending before the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal. Hence, we are dismissing the petition on the principle of commonality and not on merits," the court said.
It also dismissed a petition filed by activist Zoru Bathena seeking that Aarey be declared a floodplain and challenging the civic body's approval to Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd to cut 2,656 trees in Aarey Colony to set up a car shed.
The bench imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav, who had filed a plea against the approval granted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's tree authority. Jadhav is a member of the tree authority.