<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Environmental activists in Mumbai have launched Chipko movement to protect over 3,000 trees from being hacked in Aarey Colony to make way for the construction of Mumbai Metro car shed.The activists of Aarey Conservation Group on Saturday along with scores of people and school children, held a peaceful protest by embracing the trees and appealed to the government to reconsider its decision to build a car shed in the only large green lung of the city.”There are seven other plots in the city where car shed can come up without destroying the ecological balance of the city. But Mumbai Metro Corporation officials are hell-bent to cut 3,500 trees and now they have started excavation work and soon they are going to hack the trees.”So we decided to show our affection with the innocent trees by launching the Chipko (embracing) movement in the Aarey Colony,” said Stalin Dayanand, the convener of NGO Vanashakti.Dayanand added, “It is not Metro’s construction, but it is Metro’s (Mumbai’s) destruction which MMRC is doing without getting permission from the agencies.”National Green Tribunal has clearly said that Metro Act cannot be above the Environment Protection Act, but MMRC is brazenly violating the rules.”He alleged that MMRC has falsely made different affidavits in different agencies to cut the trees.Dayanand said, “MMRC stated in High Court that it will cut only 250 trees whereas in NGT, it said that only 500 trees will be hacked. But, shockingly here on ground zero in Mumbai, it has come up with the tender to hack 3,500 trees.” Meanwhile, noted lyricist Piyush Mishra, who too is batting for the green cover in the Aarey Colony, has compiled a video song to sensitise people and the government to protect the trees.Mishra said that it is the high time to do something to save the green tract of the city.”We can breathe in Mumbai, because of green tract like Aarey in our city, and therefore, it is our responsibility to protect them (trees) from being hacked in the name of development.”In western countries, people treat trees like God or saviour and see what we are doing. Why don’t they build carshed at other convenient places?” Mishra told PTI over phone.The state government has demarcated a portion of Aarey land for setting up the carshed for the Metro-3 corridor which has been the rootcause of controversy between green activists and the nodal agency MMRC.Reacting to the developments, MMRC, said there was no restraining order from NGT on undertaking any construction work at Aarey and it has not initiated any tree cutting activity in Aarey as of now.A MMRC spokesperson said, “Being a responsible government organisation, we always ensure that permission of MCGM’s Tree Authority, which is the competent authority to grant permission for tree cutting, is taken.” “We also reiterate that hacking will not be initiated till we receive approval from the Tree Authority,” he said.
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