Flawed thinking - GulfToday

Flawed thinking

Flawed thinking

Aarey Colony residents protest against the tree-cutting drive.

It’s suicidal to promote development at the cost of ecology. The Maharashtra government’s act to felling over two thousand trees in Mumbai’s Aarey colony in a tearing hurry and under the cover of darkness is a dastardly act. Its cold-blooded murder (“Activists held amid Mumbai tree-cutting row”, Oct.6, Gulf Today).

The government and Prime Minister Modi has been giving bold assurance at global environmental events that India is enhancing its attempts at reducing global warming and is keen on promoting a greener India. If so, is this action in sync with that?

An atrocity of such magnitude was unheard of in Maharashtra. It was one of swiftest tree-cutting exercise. In less than 40 hours the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd chopped down 2,141 trees of the permitted 2,185 trees by the Bombay High Court. What was the reason behind such a hurry? Couldn’t the authorities wait until the Supreme Court handed over its reply to the petitions pending before it? Did the fear of the HC verdict being overruled prompt such a hurried action?

It took decades for the Aarey ecosystem to develop to where it stands today. The two thousand odd trees which they have butchered did not come up in 40 hours. And replanting is not a solution. It will take years before a sapling becomes a tree to the stature of the trees cut down. Environment experts have suggested many options, which could have explored before attempting this mass murder.

The authorities have not just destroyed trees but have wiped out an entire ecosystem which includes the flora, fauna, insects, reptiles, birds, etc.

Yes, we need development and a metro project is necessary. But this is a huge price to pay. Degradation of environment is not measurable in monetary terms. The Aarey colony is Mumbai’s largest green area. We need to protect it, not kill it.

Purohit Shah
By email

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