Add Aarey issue in CMP: Greens

The Asian Age.  | Sonali Telang

Metros, Mumbai

The activists have also demanded that Aarey Colony should be declared a “forest”.

Police cordon off the area following a protest against the tree-cutting, being carried out for the Metro car shed project, at Aarey colony in Mumbai, Saturday. (Photo: Mrugesh Bandiwadekar/File)

Mumbai: Ahead of government formation in Maharashtra, Aarey activists have written to the NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress, reminding them of their pre-poll promise to prevent projects from coming up in Aarey Milk Colony.

They have said that the issue of saving Aarey should be included in the common minimum programme  (CMP) while demanding the withdrawal of charges against 29 people who were arrested during the Aarey protest.

The activists have also demanded that Aarey Colony should be declared a “forest”.

Nishant Bangera, founder of Muse Foundation, said, “Aarey Colony has all the attributes of a forest and all the parties — NCP, Shiv Sena and Congress — had visited the site before the Assembly elections and vouched to save it. Now we have requested the politicians to have a meeting with us to discuss the matter, and include this issue in their common minimum programme.”

Readers may recall that Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray had been vocal about the biodiversity of Aarey during the protests against axing of 2,646 trees for the metro car shed while NCP leader Supriya Sule and Congress senior leader Jairam Ramesh, too, had visited the site during the elections. Among others, letters have also been sent to them.

Among the demands cited are the resignations of the managing director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ashwini Bhide and municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi.

The activists have also written that the metro car shed be relocated to any of the alternate sites (including the Kanjurmarg and Kalina plots) suggested by the chief minister-appointed technical committee.

“Our foremost demand is that the criminal charges slapped on 29 people who were arrested during the protests be dropped. Some of them were students who were only protesting the tree-cutting in Aarey,” said Radhika Jhaveri, member of the Aarey Conservation Group.