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Official tree-felling figure inflated, claim activists

THE ASIAN AGE. | DEVASHRI BHUJBAL
Published : Oct 10, 2019, 1:51 am IST
Updated : Oct 10, 2019, 1:51 am IST

Save Aarey activists, on the other hand, claimed that the MMRC is misleading citizens.

MMRC officials say that 2,141 trees were cut.
 MMRC officials say that 2,141 trees were cut.

Mumbai: The tribals and activists who have been pushing for the conservation of the Aarey Milk Colony differ with the MMRC on the total number of trees that have been axed.

While the MMRC officially said that 2,141 trees were cut on Friday and Saturday, before the Supreme Court ordered a stay on further cutting, activists claim that around 1,800 trees are still intact on the Aarey plot and questioned the government’s motive for “exaggerating the number of trees axed”.

Tribals residing inside Aarey Milk Colony on Tuesday night held a symbolic condolence meeting to mourn the loss of the hundreds of trees felled by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRC) for a car shed last week.

A tribal, while offering condolences to the felled trees, said, “We could see 80 to 100-year-old trees being cut down with machines in two seconds but couldn’t stop the authorities as we were barricaded by the police. Not only were the trees axed, but also wild reptiles and birds that the trees house were rendered homeless within minutes, and we are all guilty. It is shameful that the so many trees were horrendously chopped at night when we are scientifically taught not to even touch a leaf then. We will continue the fight to save the remaining trees.”

The MMRC had started cutting the trees on Friday evening, merely hours after the high court dismissed petitions challenging the sanction granted by the Tree Authority to a proposal to remove 2,646 trees in Aarey Colony in late August. However, a petition was filed in Supreme Court to freeze the cutting of trees, and the court stayed further cutting on Sunday. Howe-ver, the MMRC revealed that 2,141 trees had already been cut by then.

Save Aarey activists, on the other hand, claimed that the MMRC is misleading citizens.

Environmental activist Zoru Bhathena said, “Few trees at the northern end were cut but thousands are still standing on the remaining plot. We wonder why the MMRC has made the erroneous statement that all trees were cut. Tree Authority members should visit the plot to verify the MMRC’s claims.”

Tags: aarey milk colony
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