Aarey Wah!by Monarose Sheila Pereira December 15 2020, 4:00 pm Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 4 secs
The government's decision to shift the Metro car shed has met with cheers from environmentalists and activists. These torchbearers speak to Monarose Sheila Pereira about their views and endeavors.
Yogen Parikh, Environmental Consultant, Former President of Indian Environmental Association
The shifting of Metro car shed from Aarey to Kanjur Marg is welcome news not only for environmentalists but also for citizens of Mumbai. Let us hope that this will set an example and no more so called development will be permitted in the entire forest areas of Aarey and Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Unfortunately such environmental consciousness was not prevalent when Film City and Royal Palms were allowed to come up or other considerations over ruled the objections then.
I would like to give a word of caution. The land at Kanjur Marg is presently used for agriculture. During monsoon, I have seen the entire area flooded. It is a natural draining zone for storm waters of Kanjur Marg and Bhandup etc. Proper planning and execution for draining this storm water into Thane creek needs to be completed first. I do not recollect reading anything about how and why this land was chosen for the car shed of Metro 3. I am all for combined car shed for Metro 3 and 4 coming up at Kanjur Marg but only after first incorporating all required environmental safeguards.
Yash Marwah, Media Professional, Environmental Activist
We are very happy that after a decade of struggle for Aarey, Mumbai is seeing some light. We are obviously sad about the damage already done, some of us are also trying to figure out a solution for the ramp, but for the environment movement: Looks like, Acche din are here. In my 4 years of being a part of this struggle from the outside and inside, we have seen so much trolling, intimidation, unnecessary vilifying of well meaning activists and so much more. Finally, truth has won. This could not have been possible without the thousands of Mumbaikars, especially the youth that came forward to save Aarey. We hope to work together to server nature.
Anoushka Sinha, Student, National College
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray’s decision to shift the Metro 3 car shed construction from Aarey Colony to Kanjurmarg has been a reaffirming event that Democracy still exists. The citizens too protested with all their vigor to save their beloved Aarey, and their country. Not just experts and environmentalists, but several civil societies succeeded indeed. This decision has not just saved a forest; it has saved several endangered species, civilians from future leopard attacks, tribal communities from losing their occupations and Mumbai from losing its lungs!
Development does not mean destroying nature but sustaining it.
Mohammad Abdullah Khan, Masters in Political Science, Student
They called the fall of the previous government in Maharashtra as 'Aarey Ka Shraap', referring to the massacre of hundreds of trees just a month before they were voted out of power. I remember seeing the videos, and losing sleep that night. I felt angry and helpless. We had written them countless emails, attended public meetings and hearings, many of my friends were constantly on-field, or involved in online activism. I remember getting messages, accusing me of being 'anti-development', and unqualified people teaching me all about the supposed 'greater good'. This decision is indeed a refreshing one. Its simple, if we can't co-exist with nature, be it on land or at sea, we will fail as a civilization.
Hrushikesh Patil, Student, Environmental Activist
The most difficult thing to handle was the state propaganda against us, the protestors. They called us paid protestors, motivated and what else not. The police detained many of us and 29 of the protestors got arrested with serious criminal charges on them. It was a very difficult task to keep the motivation going after some trees was cut last year on 4th October. But, with regular weekly plantation drives and constant activities in Aarey with the tribal communities and young people of Mumbai, we managed to keep the movement going. The battle to protect Aarey give us a picture of a larger battle at hand between material greed v/s environment because, no development can be achieved by destroying our natural resources. Environment should be our top priority right now.
Gargi Kowli, Junior Linguist
We know that the construction of the car shed is detrimental on many fronts. Firstly, it will harm the ecology, and will most certainly affect the very air we breathe. Secondly, it may prove ruinous to the lives of Aarey's original residents, the Warli folk, for instance. Thirdly, it will forever change one of the places in our city that we cherish. Protecting Aarey is not just about securing our future. It's also about retaining something of the past, a constant that was here way before any of us. It must remain way beyond us too So I sincerely hope that they reconsider the Shed's location.