Mumbai: After Uddhav Thackeray became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra after dramatic twists and turns, the first thing he did was to stop the metro shed work at Aarey Colony in Mumbai. Thackeray asserted that not a single leaf of Aarey will be shed until further notice, a move which earned him a lot of praise from environmentalists and citizens alike.
However, now it seems that the Shiv Sena has taken a U-turn on its environmental concerns and responsibilities, as the party is all set to chop down 1,000 trees for a Bal Thackeray memorial.
According to a report by the Mumbai Mirror, the Shiv Sena-governed Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is all set to cut nearly 1,000 trees for a memorial of the party’s founder, the late Bal Thackeray in Aurangabad’s Priyadarshini Park. The said memorial will be built at a whopping cost of Rs 61 crore and will have a amphitheatre, a museum and a food court.
As per environmental activists, the Priyadarshini Park spans across 17 acres in the middle of Aurangabad and is is home to 70 species of birds, 40 species of butterflies and various reptiles and small mammals. Just like Mumbai’s Aarey, the park serves as a green lung for the city.
The news came as a shock for citizens who slammed the party for its hypocritical stance and urged activists to take up the case:
Protests had erupted in Mumbai when Mumbai Metro authorities began a tree cutting drive, after the Bombay High Court turned down a petition to put a stay on the felling of trees to construct a Metro shed at the site. After Shiv Sena came to power, Uddhav Thackeray passed the order to stop the work on the Aarey metro car shed project and also ordered to withdraw cases that were filed against the Aarey protesters.
Now, it would be interesting to see whether Thackeray will intervene and save trees in Aurangabad just as he did in Aarey.