Maharashtra’s new Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has instructed to shift the metro car shed to Aarey Colony. This announcement came soon after he assumed his office as Deputy CM following an oath taking ceremony on June 30 in Mumbai’s Raj Bhavan.
According to reports, he asked the government’s legal team to inform the Bombay High Court that the metro car shed would now be shifted to Aarey Colony as planned in 2019.
With this, the former Shiv Sena minister, who is now the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, has reversed Uddhav Thackeray’s decision. Earlier, the Uddhav Thackeray government had changed the place to Kanjurmarg.
What is the controversy around Metro Car Shed?
In 2019, the BJP-Shiv Sena government was looking to construct a shed at the site for its ongoing metro project.
For those unversed, the Aarey Colony, measuring 1,287 hectares and located adjacent to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is known as the major green lung of Mumbai. Also, spread over 13,000 hectares, it is home to over 27 Adivasi villages and inhabits various animal species.
However, owing to this decision, citizens and green activists approached the Bombay HC against this move. But within hours of the high court dismissing these petitions seeking a stay on tree felling, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (MMRCL) started the tree cutting.
Moreover, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had granted the metro authorities permission to fell as many as 2,700 trees. Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation defended tree felling by contending that it is restricted only to a small area in Aarey Colony and is necessary to ensure a modern transport system for Mumbaikars.
The then Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on September 2019 had said that the government is bound to cut trees in Mumbai’s Aarey forest area as “development is important”.
Later in October 2019, the Bombay High Court had dismissed all petitions against the proposed cutting down of over 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony of Mumbai to make way for a Metro car shed.
Though, the Maharashtra government had stayed the order for the Aarey metro car shed project following massive public agitation in the city.
Later, after the MVA government came into power, then Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in 2020 announced that the state government had withdrawn cases registered against people who were protesting against the proposed metro car shed in Aarey. He had said the proposed car shed has been shifted from Aarey to Kanjur Marg.