Update: The Supreme Court of India just issued an order for status quo in the Aarey tree felling case, ordering the Maharashtra government not to cut down any more trees till the next hearing on October 21. Observing that it “appeared Aarey was a forest at some point of time”, the court asked the state government to submit a status report on the number of trees felled so far and the compulsory afforestation by the Mumbai metro (via News18)
Barely two weeks have passed since Greta Thunberg reamed out global political leaders for their determined apathy to the growing climate crisis. Two days ago, the MMRCL began the destruction of forests in Aarey Milk Colony in Mumbai because apparently, having local trains as well as the best (pun not intended) bus system in the country isn’t enough; Mumbai needs a metro too.
Aarey Colony is home to over 5 lakh trees, which is why some refer to the stretch as Mumbai’s Green Lung. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in March 1951.
The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed all petitions contesting the felling of 2,600 trees at Aarey Colony in order to build a Mumbai Metro shed at the site. On September 20, the state government had said that the area could not be termed as a ‘forest’.
The Bombay HC order disappointed many citizens. Claims and counter-claims are flying left and right: anti-metro activist and actress Dia Mirza tweeted that “There is supposed to be a 15 day waiting period after permission is granted and notice has been uploaded on official website.”
A couple of important things to keep in mind… the 15-day period to cut Aarey trees starts only once BMC uploads the tree cutting permission on their website as per three High Court orders. Till date, the permission has not been uploaded on the website. If any tree is cut 15 days before that, we will move HC again.Environment activist Zoru Bathena to Forbes India
But an OpIndia article has claimed that the 15-day waiting period starts not from the time the order is uploaded to the website, but from when it’s issued. In this case, the Tree Authority of the Municipal COrporation of Greater Mumbai issued the order granting permission for the felling of 2185 trees at Aarey Colony on 13th September, which makes the MMRC’s actions perfectly within the limits of law.
Regardless of the dates and by-laws governing this, however, the basic message that the state and central governments have sent out is this:
We don’t care about the youth of this country.
Greta Thunberg is 16 years old. Nehmat Gill, who took part in Delhi’s climate strikes, is also 16. Shri Devendra Fadnavis is 49. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister is 69. Take a wild guess which two are going to be alive to experience the impact of climate change in about 30-35 years?
But who cares, right? Modiji doesn’t exactly have kids, so maybe he feels he doesn’t need to worry about the future of the youth whose votes he so eagerly courts. Devendra Fadnavis does have an 11 year old daughter, though; maybe he doesn’t love her enough to try to make sure she has clean air to breathe in 30 years, or maybe he thinks that she can live off clean air imports from Canada (assuming they have any left by then).
Which is it, Mr Fadnavis?
We can certainly hear what they’re saying. They don’t give two sh*ts about the quality of the air we’ll be breathing in thirty years- we’ll have a metro! Surely that’s what’s important?!
Message received, Modi-Fadnavis. Loud and clear.