Aarey Forest Shed Site Being Cleared & Closed; Victory For Nature Lovers In Mumbai

aarey mumbai
by Sanjana Shenoy
by Sanjana Shenoy 428

A few days ago, the Maharashtra government had announced that 600 acres of Mumbai’s iconic Aarey Milk Colony would be declared as a ‘reserved forest’. This decision of CM Uddhav Thackeray comes as a victory for Mumbai’s citizens who fought hard to save this green area. Now, the authorities have removed the metro car shed from the Aarey area signalling the beginning of the forest renovation. As per TOI reports, S K Gupta, project director of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) said that construction debris, rebar, scaffoldings and shuttering are all being cleared out. Read on to know the details.

Metro 3 Car Shed Moved Out Of Aarey Colony To Turn The Area Into A Reserved Forest

Over the years, almost 3262 acres of land at Aarey colony in Mumbai has been a contentious issue for environmentalists, politicians and real estate players. An agitation even arose to ‘Save Aarey Colony’. It is an area which falls in the periphery of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Now, that the Maharashtra government took this decision to declare 600 acres of land as forest under The Indian Forest Act, 1927. Activists and Mumbaikars have welcomed this move. The government has recently moved out the metro car shed, construction debris, scaffoldings and other materials from Aarey forest and closed the area. A large number of people also lauded this action of the government on social media.

A Victory For Nature Lovers

Environmentalists and nature lovers fought hard to maintain the green cover of Aarey. So its definitely a victory.

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In a press release, the Chief Minister’s office stated that tribal rights will get protection and slum redevelopment will be expedited. D Stalin of NGO Vanashakti led the Save Aarey Movement. He filed petitions before the National Green Tribunal, Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court. He welcomed the move by stating, “Finally we have an honest admission about Aarey being a forest. When the forest gets recognised, tribal rights are protected and slum dwellers get a fair deal I think it’s a win-win situation for Aarey’s long- term conservation.”

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Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray Directs Officers To Protect Rights Of Tribals Residing In Aarey

Aarey Colony was commissioned in 1949 and spread over almost 3262 acres. In 1962, the Maharashtra government allotted 10 acres of land to the fisheries institute and 65 acres to the BMC’s water complex. Officials set up a water purification plant which is still active today. In 1989, the state gave 329 acres of land to film city. The government allotted 542 acres of land for various projects including slum rehabilitation between 2009 and 2013.

Picture Credits: townmumbai.com

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Now, 2000 acres of land and additionally 84 acres for car shed are free. Aarey houses a large population of tribal people. The CM has directed officers to protect their rights and permit them to develop their homes. Nature lovers, take a virtual tour to the jungles of Simiipal in Odisha. 

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