Bringing their campaign to save Aarey’s greenery to south Mumbai, thousands of city residents gathered at the Marine Drive promenade on Friday, carrying placards and chanting slogans.
The groups are opposing the proposed felling of 2,298 trees to build the Metro 3 car shed inside Aarey Colony. A human chain was formed around 5pm, with members of groups such as Save Aarey joined by school students, locals and activists.
“Through this human chain, we wanted to show citizens across Mumbai are against the car shed at Aarey colony. Marine Drive is the perfect place for the protest, as most government officials pass by this road and will see the people’s anger,” said Stalin D, of the Save Aarey Movement.
The convoy of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis did pass by while the protest was on. “We expect that the chief minister, who through this human chain has seen how much people care about the Aarey cause, will take steps to ensure the shed’s location is changed,” he said.
According to the rule book of the civic Tree Authority, 80% of the trees in Aarey cannot survive transplantation, Stalin claimed.
“We request the shed be shifted to a spot near Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road,” he said.
Anand Pendharkar, ecologist and convenor of Sprouts Environment Trust, said we need to start questioning the government over the city’s development plan. “Such protests are needed to create awareness among people about the city’s biodiversity.”
Several Colaba residents participated in the human chain, to protest against the cutting of trees in Colaba Woods for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ metro line
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, who joined in with his group Citizens’ Association, said, “The issue is no longer restricted to Aarey. All those who stand against the depletion of the city’s green cover have joined the protest.”