By Chandru Chawla

In an expected move, the new Maharashtra government overturned the decision of the previous Udhav Thakeray led MVA government. On taking charge, the very first decision this government took was to cancel the “protected forest” status of Aarey and to bring back the Metro shed to this site. Aarey is widely known as the Lungs of Mumbai – home to thousands of heritage trees and an unmatched biodiversity. Destroying this habitat would mean weakening the city’s last defense against natural calamities and urban pollution.

Citizen’s groups, environment organizations and political parties gathered in full force at the Aarey Colony picnic spot to protest this on 3rd of July 2022. The demands of the citizens were simple:

  1. Aarey’s status as a forest must continue. Livelihoods of locals depending on this forest should not be disturbed.
  2. Alternate site for the metro shed had been identified at Kanjurmarg. This must be implemented without delay.

It was heartening to see the large turnout of environmentally conscious citizens. This augurs well for the coastal city that is at risk of being submerged by 2050, according to some reports.

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