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To: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray
Leave Aarey forest alone
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray declared that a 600-acre land in Aarey would be reserved, and subsequently conserved, as a forest. He said that it would be the first instance of a "huge jungle" being conserved at the centre of a megapolis.
Declare Aarey as a Reserve Forest, and preserve its biodiversity by prohibiting any development projects
Why is this important?
UPDATE - Sept 2, 2020
After years of struggle by environmentalists, tribal communities and citizens, the Maharashtra government said that the 600-acre land in Aarey would be reserved, and subsequently conserved, as a forest. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that it would be the first instance of a "huge jungle" being conserved at the centre of a megapolis. He also said that the rights of adivasis in the area will be safeguarded.
UPDATE - Nov 30, 2019
On his first day of office, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray put a stay on the construction of the Metro car shed in Aarey colony. This indicates that he cares about Mumbai's last green lung and we must now get him to declare it into a Forest, and commit to preserving its biodiversity.
Step 1: Cut trees for Mumbai Metro car shed ✅
Step 2: Cut trees for Zoo
Step 3: Cut trees for Metro Bhavan
This is going to be Aarey Forest's fate, if we don't act soon.
It was never just about 2,700 trees for the Mumbai Metro car shed. Many more will go under the axe for an upcoming zoo, and the 32-storey Metro Bhavan in Aarey. 190 acres of land in Aarey has been allocated for the zoo, which is poised to have a jungle safari and captive breeding programme (THE HORROR) as its 'attractions'. Construction of the Metro Bhavan has already begun and at least 70 trees will be felled according to news reports.
Let's be clear about one thing -- Aarey is a 'Forest'. What else do you call an expansive green area that's home to 77 species of birds, 86 kinds of butterflies, 13 species of amphibians and even nine leopards. In fact, Aarey is an eco-sensitive zone and also serves as a floodplain. More importantly, it's a catchment area for Mithi river and multiple reports have highlighted how encroachments in Aarey will lead to flooding in the city.
At a time when climate change has become one of the most defining crises of our times, we not only need to bring in more environment-friendly policies, but also work towards safeguarding our existing resources. Trees not only filter the air we breathe, but also play a larger role in regulating temperatures and water tables.
While we have lost a significant portion of Aarey Forest's trees for the Mumbai Metro car shed, we have not lost the battle. The idea is to now ensure that Aarey is protected from all encroachments and development projects, and this can only happen if the area is declared as a Reserve Forest. The next hearing on the Supreme Court is on October 21, and we must continue to keep up the public pressure to ensure Aarey is left alone.
Let's put in our collective efforts, and voices, behind this movement -- Leave Aarey forest alone! Sign and share this campaign.