Shiv Sena jabs CM Fadnavis over Aarey forest row

Mumbai: The BJP and the Shiv Sena – alliance partners at both the centre and the state of Maharashtra – seem to have locked horns over the proposed metro shed in Aarey forest area.

Attacking Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for backing the metro shed, Shiv Sena senior leader and Rajya Sabha lawmaker Sanjay Raut on Saturday morning posted a cartoon in which the BJP leader is blindfolding Lady Justice with a strip of cloth which reads, “Arey not a forest.”

Protests erupted on Friday at Aarey forest area after the Bombay High Court 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 and refused to declare the colony as a forest.

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Party chief Uddhav Thackeray’s son and Youth President Aaditya Thackeray asked Mumbai Metro to listen to sensible demands of sustainable development.

“A project that should be executed with pride, the Metro 3, @MumbaiMetro3 has to do it in the cover of the night, with shame, slyness and heavy cop cover. The project supposed to get Mumbai clean air, is hacking down a forest with a leopard, rusty spotted cat and more,” he tweeted.

“The ShivSena’s sheetalmhatre1 ji & Shubha Raul ji at Aarey. Even Prabhu Suneel ji has been standing up for it with the citizens. Wonder why MumbaiMetro3 is treating Mumbaikars like criminals and not listening to sensible demand of sustainable development,” Thackeray said in another tweet.

Earlier, Fadnavis had said that the government is bound to cut trees in Mumbai’s Aarey forest as “development is important”.

“We do not wish to cut even a single tree in Aarey, but the development is also important. We will plant more trees in place of those cut. I will personally speak to Aditya Thackeray about this,” he said.

Meanwhile, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC imposed in the area near the metro-rail project site in Aarey forest.

Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi has been detained by Mumbai Police during protests.

“On my way to #aarey and main entry points to the site have been blocked by Mumbai Police! #SaveAarey,” she tweeted.

“I have been forcibly evicted by the cops and I wasn’t even breaking the law! The cops in the car wont even tell me where I am being taken … this is insane @MumbaiPolice,” Chaturvedi said in a second tweet.

Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation has announced its plan to cut down over 2,700 trees from Aarey colony in order to build a car shed for the Metro. The colony, spread over 13,000 hectares, is home to over 27 Adivasi villages and inhabits various animal species.

Scores of locals including environmental activists have been opposing the cutting of trees for the construction of the car shed of the metro station. They are demanding the relocation of the bus depot, which is a part of the Metro III project.

Several B-town actors and political leaders have also extended their support to activists by participating in the protests against the cutting of trees.

Meanwhile, actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar had supported the Metro project.

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