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Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra govt designates entire Aarey land as a reserve forest

In a significant development, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday decided to apply section 4 of the India Forest Act (IFA) to the Aarey land in Goregaon. The move would mean that the entire Aarey land would be designated as a reserve forest.

Maharashtra Environment and Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray tweeted the development. “ A meeting held by Honorable Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ji with Aarey, Forest and Environment departments has decided to apply section 4 of the IFA to approximately 600 acres in Aarey land near SGNP. This implies that it would be declared a reserve forest after a hearing for suggestions and objections”,tweeted Aaditya.

Simply put the Maharashtra government has decided that come what may the Metro 3 carshed will not be constructed in Aarey. The erstwhile BJP government, when it was in power with the Shiv Sena, had mooted a carshed in Aarey for the Mumbai Metro 3 project.

The project however faced opposition from several people including environmentalists and the Shiv Sena who said that the construction of the carshed at Aarey would disturb the natural habitat of several wild animals like leopards and would destroy Aaarey, which is known as the green lung of the city.

The Shiv Sena had contested the 2019 assembly polls promising it would scrap the Metro 3 carshed at Aarey if it comes to power. After it came to power with the help of the NCP and Congress it constituted a committee to look into whether the carshed could be shifted from Aarey, and to suggest alternate sites.

That state government panel however said that Aarey was the only choice for the project. In spite of the committee’s report, the state government is now scouting for alternate land for the project.

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