The latest issue that has brought citizens, activists, politicians and celebrities together is the felling of approximately 2,500 trees in order to construct a car shed for an upcoming Metro project in Mumbai. Over the last week, several protests have been held to stop the cutting of trees at Aarey colony, also known as 'Mumbai's green lung'.
The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday morning ordered the Maharashtra government to not cut more trees in Aarey till October 21. Earlier, the Bombay High Court on Friday had allowed the government to start the slashing of trees, and the state immediately began the process of cutting the green cover to make way for the shed.
Supreme Court asks Maharashtra Government to not cut more trees at #Aarey Colony. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Maharashtra Government assures the bench that henceforth no trees will be cut. pic.twitter.com/oLSzCZsXcY
Citizens and activists had started protesting after the Bombay High Court rejected their plea to stop the felling of trees on Friday night. The Mumbai police lathi-charged the protestors and arrested 29 of them that night. The SC on Monday also asked all activists who have been detained for protesting the government’s action to be released.
Several Bollywood celebrities have been vocal about the issue, and have voiced their concerns about the impact it would have on the environment. Actor Dia Mirza, who is the UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, tweeted that the SC order might be too late, as 2,300 trees have already been cut.
Actor Richa Chadha, who has also spoken up about the Aarey issue, echoed Dia's sentiments.
They’ve cut 2000 trees already, in the middle of the night, while detaining peaceful protestors, activists and adivasis, blocking roads till #Aarey. Anyone else feeling the timing of this was suspect? Cuz courts open on the Monday. Correct me if I am wrong. Hubris = end is nigh https://t.co/SxQrZb74GO
Several other celebrities including Swara Bhasker, Alia Bhatt, Farhan Akhtar, Karan Johar, Madhuri Dixit, Varun Dhavan commented against the cutting of trees in Aarey.
We have to be stewards of our world treating the planet with respect. Mumbai has few parks for our children, few forests for our wildlife. There has to be another way than cutting the trees in Aarey. We need to work together and save the planet and come together to #SaveAarey
This is heartbreaking news. With such an outcry to stop the cutting of trees why is this being allowed mumbai has done enough for the people in power to realise cutting down aarey is something the citizens don’t want https://t.co/df6llNejGX
There's always been a conflict between development & conservation. Yes, the city needs to build infrastructure to support a growing population. But the city also needs trees & parks & greenery. We need to protect nature like life depends on it. Because it does.#LetMumbaiBreathe
Aarey colony, covering around 1,287 hectares and located next to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is one of the few green spots in the city. The SC bench will hear the plea regarding the felling of trees in Aarey on October 21.
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