Sena, BJP at odds over Metro car shed in Aarey jungle

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's son and Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray voiced his opinion against the car shed at a news conference. PTI file photo

The two saffron alliance partners, Shiv Sena and BJP seems to have locked horns one again over the proposed Metro car shed in the Aarey jungles.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray's son and Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray voiced his opinion against the car shed, on Tuesday at a news conference.

“We are not opposed to the Metro, but we are opposed to having the depot at Aarey,” Aditya said.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd and the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority are executing the Mumbai Metro project.

The development comes days after prime minister Narendra Modi performed bhoomi-poojan for a slew of Metro projects in Mumbai including a Metro Bhavan at Aarey. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Aditya's father Uddhav  Thackeray were present at the function.

“Even if a single person is opposing the project,  the government should listen to them and think about why they are opposing the project,” Thackeray said and while targeting the MMRC chief Ashwini Bhide and said that the government should appoint right kind of officials who will get the work done according to the wishes of the people and not thrust their own thoughts on people of the city.

While the MMRCL had been pushing for making the Aarey land available for Metro depot, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) last week cleared a proposal for failing 2700 trees in Aarey to make way for it. The NGOs and local groups that have been opposing the proposal have already lost their case on several forums like the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and at a public interaction on Monday, Bhide stated that the ambitious and prestigious underground Metro project won’t be possible if the Aarey land is not made available for the depot.

Thackeray Jr said that he is not making a political issue out of it but reiterating the cause of people.

“Are the officers threatening the court and the people of Mumbai when they say that the project will be stalled if they don’t get the land,” Thackeray wanted to know.

He also demanded that Aarey should be declared as a forest.

BMC chief Pravin Pardeshi had earlier made it clear that the Metro project has a very low carbon footprint and the loss due to failing of 2700 trees would be recovered within a year of Metro operations.

The Aarey Milk Colony has a total area of 3,160 acres of land owned by the Dairy Development Department of the Maharashtra Government. Out of which area available for cultivation of quality fodder and grasses is about 400 acres. We have also leased out the land to various organisation and institutions Maharashtra Government and the Centre. The colony houses  30 stables having a capacity for housing 500 to 550 animals in each stable.

This area is a grass and scrub environ with a few hillocks, possessing two perennial and one seasonal pond as well as many seasonal streams in the area. The vast pastures of the Marutian Para grass are maintained and harvested as fodder for cattle. This area, it may be recalled, also formed the nexus of human-leopard conflict between 2002 and 2004. The habitat being highly varied consisting of scrub forest, seasonal freshwater marshes, hillocks, rocky outcrops, grass and scrub interrupted by human settlements is host to a variety of life forms, thus making this area a biodiversity hotspot in Mumbai.

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