Aaditya Thackeray Leads Protest Against Metro Car Shed

Former Maharashtra and Shiv Sena minister on Sunday slammed the state government’s decision to construct a Metro car shed in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony and said the 808 acres of land was reserved as forest and “human greed and lack of compassion cannot be allowed to destroy biodiversity” during a protest in the city.

The former tourism and environment minister, who participated in a protest against the state government’s move to shift the proposed Metro-3 car shed to the Aarey Forest in a tweet said, “Aarey is a unique forest within our city,” and the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government led by his father Uddhav Thackeray had declared the 808 acres of Aarey as Forest and the “car shed must move out.”

“Aarey is a unique forest within our city. Uddhav Thackeray ji declared 808 acres of Aarey as Forest and the car shed must move out. Our human greed and lack of compassion cannot be allowed to destroy biodiversity in our city,” he said.

“I appeal to the new state government (led by CM Eknath Shinde) not to take out the anger against us on Mumbai,” he further told reporters. He said the previous government was “pro-Mumbai, pro-Maharashtra and a votary of sustainable development”.

In the Aarey forest, often termed as the city’s green lung’, located in Goregaon western suburb, some 300 different varieties of flora and fauna are found, including a large number of leopards.

Green activists have been vehemently opposing the cutting of trees in Aarey for the car shed. Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently directed state Advocate General and the administration to submit a proposal on building the car shed in Aarey Colony, instead of Kanjurmarg, the eastern suburb which was chosen by the previous Uddhav Thackeray-led government.

On Sunday, Aaditya Thackeray during a protest by environmentalists against the Metro car shed in Aarey, explained the previous government’s decision to shift the project to Kanjurmarg. “We wanted to preserve the wildlife and biodiversity. We recognised the adivasi (tribal) hamlets and at the same time, worked on the concretisation of roads in Aarey without touching a single tree.” He said before the MVA government was toppled after Sena MLA Eknath Shinde and most of the party legislators rebelled against the party, it was looking for options other than Kanjurmarg.

“The Kanjurmarg car shed would have catered to the Metro lines 3, 6, 4 and 14. We would have saved Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 10,000 crore,” the former minister said. A car shed is not for daily use, but for maintenance every four to five months, he said. The MVA government was looking for a stabilising line for Metro 3 at the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and Nariman Point (in south Mumbai), he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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