The Maharashtra revenue and forest department has given a green signal for the diversion of one-hectare mangrove land between Airoli bridge and Thane-Belapur Road for the construction of a flyover.
The order issued by joint secretary A S Apte said that 0.983 hectares of reserved and unclassified (mangrove) forest land at Dive, Airoli and Chinchvali in Thane district was diverted under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
The freeway consisting of 1.68 km long twin tunnels is a major part of the project on the Thane-Belapur elevated route, which will help reduce the traffic snarls for commuters between Mumbai to Kalyan and Badlapur region. Further, 150 hectares of forest land across Thane, Palghar, Ahmednagar and Pune will be diverted for laying electricity transmission line. Forest lands are also being diverted in Shahpur, Bhiwandi, Murbad in Mumbai metropolitan area.
For years, the residents have been reportedly complaining about the poor road connectivity in the area leaving them with no other option but to opt for local trains from Kalyan towards CSMT. Despite this, the project had been stuck for many years.
Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation along with the fisheries department had petitioned the Bombay HC against the Centre to be allowed to proceed with the infrastructure projects, which the departments maintained were in the public interest to ease traffic and connectivity. Despite the HC clearing the deck, the decision remained pending with the state environment ministry under the leadership of Aaditya Thackeray.
Now, with the Navi Mumbai civic elections slated to take place this year and the Thane local polls scheduled in 2022, the state forest department issued an order for the diversion of the forest land on March 12 (Friday).
Netizens call out the hypocrisy of ‘Aarey Activists’, question their silence over Maharashtra govt’s latest decision to axe Mangrove land
Sharing this news report, actor Sumeet Raghavan used the opportunity to call out the hypocrisy of various Environmental ‘activists’, NGOs and ‘liberals’ and also the state government for that matter, which had once gone all out to protest against the felling of trees in Aarey for metro construction in Mumbai.
Hope the #AareyActivists don’t have an issue or they might have dropped the plan because obviously they can’t go in the muck to protest,even SUV’ can’t go there and no media coverage.#SHHHYYYAAAA @MangroveForest – lucky 😉@MumbaiMetro3 – try hard 😋#Mumbaikar – 🔔 https://t.co/Me4p5mZmJB— Sumeet Raghvan सुमीत राघवन (@sumrag) March 15, 2021
Taking to Twitter, the actor questioned the ‘Aarey activists’ on their stoic silence over the state government’s latest decision to axe 1 hectare of mangroves in Thane. “Hope the #AareyActivists don’t have an issue or they might have dropped the plan because obviously, they can’t go in the muck to protest, even SUV’ can’t go there and no media coverage. #SHHHYYYAAAA”, wrote Raghavan.
‘Activists’who protested against the then BJP govt have now chosen to remain silent
It is paradoxical that the so-called liberals and activists who had made such a hue and cry about the metro project at Aarey are keeping a stoic silence on chopping off the mangroves. Similarly, they had nothing to say when Maharashtra government took a U-turn and decided to cut and transplant over 300 trees for the elevated Metro-2A corridor between Dahisar and DN Nagar in Mumbai.
In 2019, before the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, the car shed at Aarey milk colony had become a major political issue. The left-wing activists and Shiv Sena vehemently opposed it, claiming that it is a forest area and the project will destroy the ecology.