New-age Chipko: Mumbaiites climb peepal tree to ‘save’ it from being hacked for Metro-3 | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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New-age Chipko: Mumbaiites climb peepal tree to ‘save’ it from being hacked for Metro-3

Mumbai city news: Two people climb a peepal tree, which was to be felled, at Churchgate

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2017 10:09 IST
Badri Chatterjee
A man climbs a tree to protest against the felling of it for the Metro-3 work.
A man climbs a tree to protest against the felling of it for the Metro-3 work.(HT)

Unable to stop the felling of trees in different areas in the city for the Metro rail project, two people climbed a peepal tree which was sanctioned to be felled at Churchgate, on Wednesday evening. The protestors were taken to the Marine Drive police station soon after the incident and released after they shared their contact details with the police.

Irked with the on-going tree cutting for the Metro-3 project (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) in south Mumbai, Andheri resident Abhay Bavishi, 34, and Thane resident Aarati Tamore, 35, climbed the tree.

Last Friday, the Supreme Court disposed of a resident’s plea to stop the hacking of trees for the Metro-3 project and from Saturday onwards, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) started cutting trees at various areas in south Mumbai. The MMRC will cut 1,074 trees and transplant 1,727 trees, which means a total of 2,811 trees will be affected by the construction of 27 stations for the project.

South Mumbai residents said a total of 40 people had been protesting at different stations between Saturday and Wednesday. “It is a sad day in our lives because all we tried to do was give these voiceless species a chance to be saved. After witnessing five 30-foot trees being felled in front of us, we demanded that at least the peepal tree be transplanted. When the contractors refused to cooperate, we said we will fall with the tree,” said Tamore. “We want citizens to come out in large numbers and start a chipko movement to protect at least a few trees.”

Bavishi alleged that the police had detained Tamore and him after the incident. He told HT that when he asked the contractor hired by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) to show the permission for the felling of the tree, they refused to do so. “We were detained at the police station for almost two hours and intentionally kept away from the tree felling spot. We were only let go when it was dark and the tree felling work had already been done,” he said adding, “While Prime Minister Modi regularly boasts of protecting the environment, what is happening on ground is the opposite.”

Mumbai police officials said that they released the two after making a diary entry. “We were informed about the incident following which we reached the spot and requested the two persons to come down from the tree. Initially, they were reluctant but after they came down, we took them to the police station and noted their details,” said Manoj Sharma, deputy commissioner of police, zone I adding that they were not detained.

The vacation bench of the Bombay high court heard a petition filed by a south Mumbai resident on Wednesday and has asked MMRC to submit all permissions for tree felling during the next hearing scheduled on Friday.

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