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Current Affairs

Aarey colony protest

Date: 07 October 2019 Tags: Biodiversity

Issue

A special Bench of the Supreme Court will Monday hear a plea seeking stay on the cutting of over 2,600 trees in a portion of land in Mumbai’s Aarey for the construction of a Metro Rail car shed.

 

Background

The Bombay High Court had dismissed a petition seeking stay on cutting of trees for the construction project. The court rejected a plea to declare Aarey as a forest and extend protection.

 

Details

Aarey

  • Aarey used to be about 3,000 acres of forest land in North Mumbai but has been reduced to just 1,300 acres after being converted into agricultural land.

  • It was once a part of a deciduous stretch of forests, now restricted to the adjacent Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the hillocks. 

  • The forest shelters several species of birds, insects, and leopards. The residents of Aarey, who mainly comprise of Warli tribe, are Mumbai's oldest residents, and are on the edge of being affected by the decision of the government.

Arguments in favour of protection

  • The proposed land at Aare is on the banks of the ‘Mithi River’, which has channels and tributaries flowing to it and emptying into the river. Its absence can flood Mumbai due to water clogging.

  • The trees on the land are great carbon sequesters, which absorb the carbon emitted from Mumbai city.