Mumbai: In a major disappointment for Aarey colony campaigners, the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed all petitions against the felling of over 2,500 trees for a Mumbai metro depot.

The court refused to declare Mumbai’s Aarey Colony as a forest area.

 

After the HC order, activist Zoru Bathena, who filed the petition challenging the decision to cut the trees, said he will approach the Supreme Court.

“Extremely saddened to get this news. We will take this fight forward. It’s a sad day for Aarey today. We will approach the Supreme Court, Bathena told News18.

On September 20, the Maharashtra government had told the court that Aarey cannot be declared a forest just because of its greenery. 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. Slowly, The ‘Save Aarey’ movement picked up pace with people joining in from all over the city.

Not just commoners, several celebrities had also joined the movement to extend support to those protesting against this decision. Actors including Shraddha Kapoor, Richa Chadha,Raveena Tandon, Randeep Hooda, and Alia Bhatt had vehemently opposed the cutting of trees asking the government to reconsider and reverse it.

However, other celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar have come out and praised the Mumbai Metro project.