The Bombay High Court has cleared felling of over 2,000 trees in Aarey Forest. This paves the way for the construction of a shed for the Mumbai Metro at the site. The verdict is a big setback to environmentalists, activists and members of the Hindi film fraternity who were opposed to the axing of the green cover.
Several politicians had also extended their support to the activists protesting against the feeling of trees in Aarey. Shiv Sena, a partner of the ruling Bharatiya JAnata Party government in the state, had sided with the activists.
The Aarey colony, measuring 1,287 hectares and located adjoining the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is known as a major green lung of the metropolis.
The state government had told the court on 20 September that Aarey cannot be declared a forest just because of its greenery. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation had argued in court that the project was of paramount importance for the city.
"Every day, 10 persons die due to overcrowding in local suburban trains. The Metro project will ease the pressure from the trains," MMRCL counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni had said.