After a huge ruckus by environmentalists protesting tree cutting inside the Aarey Colony, the Mumbai Police on Saturday arrested 29 activists, including six women. The protests were to oppose the felling of around 2,646 trees and the activists claimed that more than 1,000 trees have already been cut down.
The activists intensified their protests after the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed all petitions regarding the felling of the trees by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (MMRCL) in the green zone to construct a car-shed for the Metro-3 project.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dongre also declined to declare Aarey Colony as ”forest” or quash the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Tree Authority”s decision permitting the razing of the trees in the green zone for the metro project.
The judges noted that the carbon dioxide sequestration of 2,702 trees for their entire lifetime calculated at 12,79,062 kg would be compensated by 3,948 fully-loaded trips of the metro trains, while dismissing petitions filed by activist Zoru Bhathena and Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant K. Jadhav.
Jadhav was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs 50,000 for his petition against the approval granted by the BMC Tree Authority of which he is a member, while Bhathena had sought to move the Supreme Court in the matter.
On Saturday, Justice S. Dharmadhikari and Justice A. K. Menon rejected a plea, seeking to stay the ongoing tree-felling till the petitioners could move the Supreme Court for further relief.