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Not stopping construction of Metro shed in Aarey, stay only on cutting trees: SC

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Mumbai, Oct 21: On a day Mumbai voted to elect new government, the Supreme Court has said that it is not stopping the Metro shed project in Mumbai's Aarey Colony and only putting a stay on the felling of trees.

A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta sought a status report with pictures on plantation, transplantation and felling of trees in Aarey colony area of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Supreme Court

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the civic body BMC, assured the bench that no further tree felling is being done in Aarey colony and complete status quo is being maintained following apex court's last order.

The SC bench further clarified that there is no stay on metro project and the stay order is only limited to the felling of trees in Aarey colony.

The matter will again be heard in court on November 15. On October 7, the SC had ordered the Maharashtra government to not cut any more trees in the Aarey area.

Aarey colony, famously known as the green lungs of Mumbai, is a suburban located in Goregaon which is also the second-largest green cover after the Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

Aarey forest: It's economic growth vs environmental sustainability

The Milk Colony, an erstwhile government-owned dairy farm, sprawls over 1,278 hectares in the city's suburbs.

The Maharashtra government efforts to provide a part of this ecologically sensitive zone for a Metro car shed has invoked strong protest by environmentalists and citizens' groups.

The Aarey colony protests began on October 5, 2019, after the Bombay High Court allowed the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to cut over 2,500 trees. Hours after the ruling, the Mumbai Metro had axed over 2000 trees overnight.

The axing of trees had led to a series of protests across the city which resulted in the Mumbai police arresting as many as 29 protestors for allegedly obstructing and assaulting police personnel during the felling of trees, and also imposing Section 144 in Aarey Colony and the nearby areas.

For several years, the proposal to build a metro rail car shed on 30 hectares of the Aarey Colony land has faced stiff opposition from concerned citizens.

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