Aarey Forest’s Adivasis Ask How They Will Survive Felling of Trees

For the Adivasis, Aarey forest is not just their home but also a source of income for them.

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My Report
2 min read

Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

After the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) gave a go-ahead for the felling of nearly 2,700 trees in Aarey forest to make a car shed for the Mumbai Metro, I decided to go to the area and speak to some Adivasis who have been residing there for generations.

The move has been opposed by both the Adivasis of Aarey forest and environment activists. For the Adivasis, Aarey forest is not just their home but also a source of income.

I spoke to Tai, who has been living in Aarey forest for years.

“Earlier not even a dog used to come here. There was just us here. Now our kids have also grown up and we have separate houses. These kids will also have their kids, where would they stay? We can’t stay in colonies. We need this place only. We cannot live in buildings. Even if we have to stay for one day, we will die.”
Tai, Resident of Aarey forest

But what we don’t understand is that on one side, the government says that Mumbai’s pollution is increasing and we need to grow more trees, for more oxygen. And on the other hand, we are ready to cut down trees. Nobody is against the Mumbai Metro. But there are plenty of other places the government can use for the metro. Why Aarey?

I spoke to Sanjeev Shamantul, an activist who had a few important questions to ask the authorities. “What will happen after cutting the trees? The Adivasis who are staying here their lives are under attack. Where will the other creatures living here go? What will happen to the species? We will continue to protest this,” he said.

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