Supreme Court halts all operations in Mumbai's Aarey forest area

Supreme Court halts all operations in Mumbai's Aarey forest area

Spread over 13,000 hectares, Mumbai's Aarey forest area is also referred to as the 'city's lungs'

Despite the status quo orders against the cutting of trees in the Aarey forest area by the judiciary, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) resumed deforestation in Aarey Forest for its Metro car shed project.

Reviewing the matter in detail, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit on ordered MMRCL to halt all operations in the forest area.

Saving the lungs of a city

Mumbai's Aarey forest is also referred to as the 'city's lungs', spread over 13,000 hectares, it is home to over 27 Adivasi villages and inhabits various fauna species. Such forest areas act as a carbon sink for cities and with increasing pollution, it is time to conserve these natural habitats.

In 2019, Mumbai civic body's tree authority granted permission to MMRCL to cut down over 2,700 trees from Aarey colony in order to build a train car shed for the Metro service. Since then, a dispute between local NGOs and the Maharashtra government is in progress. Now, deforestation has been halted after an order was issued by the apex court. Reportedly, MMRCL recently began levelling and tree-cutting work in the forest area.

As per the order issued by the Supreme Court, the matter will be further heard on Tuesday August 30, where the decision to start operations in the forest area will be reviewed.

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