Aarey Colony Episode, Whose Baby is Environment? by KS Raghavan SignUp
Aarey Colony Episode, Whose Baby is Environment?
Dr. KS Raghavan Bookmark and Share

Aarey Colony of Mumbai has been in news for a few days now.

The facts are simple. A certain area was needed by Mumbai Metro for building car sheds. The area is uninhabited, but is full of trees. As the Metro Corporation was about to start clearing the area some activists knocked the High Court doors seeking justice in the best interest of environment. But the court dismissed the petitions on technical considerations. The court’s reason was that the area is not declared as a forest and that it is not illegal to fell trees in non-forest areas.  But there are more than thousand trees there. Metro authorities didn’t want to lose time and swung into action in the middle of the night. Hundreds of activists gathered at the site to protest and prevent. Police came in their way and some were taken into custody also.

Our central Minister for Environment, none other than Prakash Javadekar, justified the action citing a Delhi happening wherein about 25 trees were removed to meet the needs of Delhi Metro. Mumbai Metro chief used very strong words and said “the activists should accept defeat”.

The basic question here is whether the need to build Car Sheds was compelling enough to warrant felling a very large number of trees.  I agree that one cannot be very rigid about felling of trees.  There is always a compromise. For example, if some trees come in the way of building an essential road they have got to go. To me it appears that the necessity and the action are disproportionate in Aarey Colony case.

As I write this, there is an encouraging development. A few activists, mostly students, wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India. CJI has treated the letter as Public Interest Litigation and the Supreme Court is taking up the case shortly. Our Chief Justice is to be commended for going out of way for a worthy cause.

The supreme court will take up this on 21st October


The question: “Whose baby is environment after all? Are not our ministers and governments guilty of double standards and hypocrisy?"


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