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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

Destruction inevitable, says Mumbai Metro’s chief Ashwini Bhide after Aarey row

Local residents, activists, and opposition parties have slammed the government after hundreds of trees were chopped off in Aarey under heavy security since Friday night to clear the land for construction of the car shed.

india Updated: Oct 06, 2019 17:59 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
“Sometimes to construct something new destruction becomes inevitable but it also paves the way for new life and new creation,” Bhide tweeted.
“Sometimes to construct something new destruction becomes inevitable but it also paves the way for new life and new creation,” Bhide tweeted.(Photo: AshwiniBhide/ Twitter)
         

Cutting of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony for the construction of a car shed is “inevitable”, the chief of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) Ashwini Bhide, who is facing flak over the issue, said on Sunday.

Local residents, activists, and opposition parties have slammed the government after hundreds of trees were chopped off in Aarey under heavy security since Friday night to clear the land for construction of the car shed.

“Sometimes to construct something new destruction becomes inevitable but it also paves the way for new life and new creation,” Bhide tweeted.

Mumbai Metro, which is building the Metro-3 car shed, began cutting trees at Aarey late on Friday after Bombay High Court upheld the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) tree authority’s nod to axe 2,646 trees. And on Saturday, the high court refused to halt the tree cutting at Aarey Milk Colony.

ALSO WATCH | Explained: Development vs Environment protection debate over Aarey

MMRC’s managing director Bhide has commented on the issue before as well as the row over cutting of trees at Aarey Milk Colony has escalated. Bhide had, in a series of tweets, said the activists should accept their defeat in the court “honourably”.

“A new false propaganda is in the air that 15 days’ notice is required after tree authority order getting uploaded on website. This is absolutely baseless. Tree authority order is issued on 13th Sept 19. 15 days are over on 28th Sept. Action awaited till Hon HC verdict was out,” she tweeted.

Mumbai Police arrested 29 protesters and detained around 100 others, after they stormed the site of the Metro-3 car shed on Friday night for trying to prevent the trees from being cut.

The arrested protesters were produced before the Borivli metropolitan magistrate court, which remanded them to judicial custody for 14 days. Lawyers of the accused have filed bail pleas, which will be heard on October 7. Most of those who were detained were released on Saturday.

The controversy also took a political turn with the Shiv Sena, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the opposition parties slamming the government and authorities over the tree-cutting.

No one from the state government has reacted on the issue so far but Union environment minister Prakash Javadekar defended MMRC’s move to fell trees in Aarey, saying it was “not a forest”.

Drawing a parallel, the Union minister said trees had to be cut for Delhi Metro also and it was opposed by activists even then. Terming the Delhi Metro the best of its kind in the world, he said there was a need to cut 20 to 25 trees to set up the first Metro station in Delhi and people had similarly opposed it.