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NGOs, Environmentalist silent as ‘secular’ Shiv Sena allows axing of 300 trees for metro construction in Mumbai

Environmental activists, NGOs and liberals who had hit the streets to protest against the then BJP government in the state for axing the trees at Aarey colony have now suspiciously chosen to remain silent.

After creating a ruckus over the felling of trees in Aarey forest, the Congress alliance partner – Shiv Sena has now decided to cut and transplant more than 300 for the elevated Metro-2A corridor between Dahisar and DN Nagar in Mumbai, reports Times of India.

On Monday, the Shiv Sena-led tree authority panel gave its nod to axe 159 trees and transplant 151 trees which were an obstruction to the construction of the metro line in Kandivli’s Laljipada, DN Nagar in Andheri and Goregaon. The decision by Uddhav Thackeray-led comes months after it had stalled the project.

On February 14, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had tabled the proposal to cut the trees following an application from the MMRDA, which is implementing the Metro project. The proposal was stalled by the Sena, which sought more details on the plan. However, on Friday, Shiv Sena-led tree panel cleared the proposal, with certain recommendations.

Read: Aarey activist hugs random roadside tree outside Aarey, Twitterati demands Rs 50 be cut for ‘overacting’

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had issued a public notice stating that 304 trees to be removed for the purpose and asked residents to submit their suggestions and objections by November 8 last year. The work on 18-km Metro 2A corridor is being carried out by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). Reportedly, the trees are to be removed from the areas near Oshiwara, Kandivali and Dahisar.

Following the decision to cut the trees, Sena leader Yashwant Jadhav said, “We have asked the BMC to keep a strict vigil on where these trees are being transplanted…the authorities implementing the Metro project should ensure that the trees are transplanted in a municipal area, where the BMC can monitor their survival rate.”

The civic tree authority on Friday sanctioned a proposal for appointing a consultant for the Miyawaki method of the plantation at a cost of Rs 2 crore. The BMC has decided to increase urban forest cover by adopting the Japanese technique of growing dense plantations in a short time. The Miyawaki technique was developed in Japan by botanist Akira Miyawaki to build dense native forests in urban areas.

Read: NGOs and assorted ‘liberals’ protesting against Mumbai Metro are wrong: Here are the facts of Aarey Colony Metro Shed

The ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, which often advocates for eco-conservation by cancelling the metro project at Aarey on ‘concerns’ that trees are being cut, seems to have taken a U-turn by deciding to axe more than 300 trees for the construction of a metro line.

Shiv Sena, especially under the leadership of Aaditya Thackeray, has been extremely vocal on the issues of environmental conversation, as the young Sena prince had opposed the BJP government decision of felling of trees at Aarey Milk colony to construct a Metro shed.

Later, when Uddhav Thackeray became the CM of Maharashtra, he had stopped construction of the metro car shed in the Aarey Milk Colony and had registered against officials and a contractor for allegedly cutting of trees along the route of Metro Line in Thane.

However, a month after extreme activism by Shiv Sena to impress its coalition parties – Congress and NCP, the now ‘secular’ party Sena had exposed its hypocrisy by ordering the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation to chop down 1,000 trees for a Bal Thackeray memorial in Priyadarshini Park.

Interestingly, the environmental activists, NGOs and liberals who had hit the streets to protest against the then BJP government in the state for axing the trees at Aarey colony have now suspiciously chosen to remain silent. Perhaps, the activist seems to have come to a conclusion that it is a right step to axe the trees for the metro as the decision has been taken by the secular alliance of Shiv Sena, Congress and the NCP.

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