Mumbai: On his first day in office, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday ordered to stop the metro shed work at Aarey Colony in Mumbai. He said that not a single leaf of Aarey will be shed until further notice.

“Metro work will not stop but till next decision, not a single leaf of Aarey will be cut,” Thackeray said while addressing a press conference.

“I am the first Chief Minister who was born in Mumbai. It is going on in my mind, what I can do for the city,” he added.

“I’m in mantralaya (state secretariat) for the first time. I just had a meeting with the secretaries and we introduced each other. I told them to use taxpayers money in the best way, and that it should not be wasted,” he further asserted.

Meanwhile, talking to news agency ANI, Uddhav’s son, Aaditya Thackeray echoed a similar stand, saying that people of Mumbai are happy with the decision. “Development works will continue but the harm that was being done to the environment will be stopped,” he added.

Aarey colony, which is about 1,287 hectares and situated next to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, is often being termed as the “lungs of Mumbai”. Environmentalists had been protesting the decision by Mumbai’s civic body’s Tree Authority of constructing a car shed for Mumbai Metro at Aarey, which has more than five lakh trees.

The flashpoint began in October when Mumbai Metro authorities began a tree cutting drive, just hours 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. In the plea, the petitioners had alleged that nearly 2,600 trees will be axed to come up with the Metro shed.

Protesters gathered at the site after videos emerged on social media showing authorities cutting down the trees. They broke barricades erected at the site and raised anti-government slogans before being detained by the police.

Over 2, 000 trees of Aarey Colony are known to have been axed in October.