‘Moral Victory for Environmentalists’: Oppn Hails SC’s Aarey Order

NCP leader Supriya Sule said the haste with which Maharashtra Government acted in cutting trees is “condemnable.” 

2 min read
 Activists and locals hold placards to protest the cutting of trees in Aarey Colony for the proposed car shed for Mumbai Metro 3, in Goregaon in Mumbai.

Hailing the Supreme Court’s order which restrains authorities from cutting more trees in Aarey Colony to make way for a Metro car shed, the Shiv Sena on Monday, 7 October, said it is a “moral victory” for environmentalists.

Maneesha Kayande, spokesperson of the Sena, which is an ally of the ruling BJP but has been opposing tree felling in the city's green belt, said it was the government's “mistake” not to declare Aarey area as a forest and rued that nearly 2,100 trees have been cut in two days.

“The Supreme Court’s directives to maintain status quo at the Aarey site is a moral victory for environmentalists and citizens of Mumbai who are objecting to it,” the MLC said.

‘Haste With Which Maha Govt Acted is Condemnable’

The opposition NCP on Monday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision on Aarey, and blamed the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government for the “haste” with which it chopped down trees in the last couple of days.

“The haste with which the Maharashtra Government acted over the weekend in cutting the trees is condemnable,” NCP leader Supriya Sule said.

However what is worrying is the admission of the Maharashtra Government in the SC that the necessary number of trees have already been cut,” Sule tweeted.

PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti took potshots on Twitter to say that the issue of trees in the Aarey was more important than Kashmiri lives.

"Aarey trees > Kashmiri lives," she tweeted on Sunday night.

‘SC Order a Tight Slap On the Face of BJP-Sena Govt’

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan also hit out at the Devendra Fadnavis-led state government over the cutting of trees in Aarey.

"The Supreme Court's order is a tight slap on the face of BJP-Shiv Sena government that has tried to suppress the voice of the common man and activists protesting against Aarey tree felling," the senior Congress leader said.

Prof Avkash Jadhav, head of the history department at St Xavier’s College and trustee of the city-based KAASH Foundation, welcomed the court’s decision and demanded a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into cutting of trees at night last Friday.

"An SIT should be set up to inspect the site of Aarey now and identify the actual damage done," said Jadhav, who last month helped students of his college to write a letter to British adventurer Bear Grylls for seeking his support to stop felling of trees in the Aarey Colony.

The team should comprise activists and environmental experts from other states and members from non-governmental bodies, he said.

"We demand strong action against the MMRCL authorities and all those who took the cover of darkness at night to arbitrarily cut trees on 4 October," he said.

Tasmeen Shaikh, member of the Aarey conservation group, said, “Every time the MMRCL came up with some defence for setting up the car shed project of Metro-3 at Aarey land, we countered it logically.”

The MMRCL later removed its "lame defence" from its website to avoid controversy, she claimed.

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