Mumbai’s Aarey Car Shed Dispute: Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray Eknath Shinde Govt Explained – Aarey Car Shed Dispute: What happened till now in the eight-year-long dispute? Uddhav-Fadnavis face to face again in Aarey carshed case

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As soon as the power changed in Maharashtra, the decisions of the old government have also started to change. The first change happened in the very first meeting of the cabinet, when the government reversed the decision of shifting the Metro-3 car shed of the Uddhav Thackeray government from Aarey to Kanjamarg.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave instructions to the State Urban Development Department in this regard. Former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray retaliated in this matter on Friday. Uddhav said that he was deeply saddened by the reversal of the decision. He said that the Shinde government should not play with the environment of Mumbai. The government should not take such decisions which may cause trouble to the people of Mumbai in future. Don’t take out the anger you have with me on the people of Mumbai.

After all, what is the controversy over the location of the car shed?

Controversy has been going on since 2014 over the construction of a metro car shed in Aarey, Mumbai. The shifting of the car shed from Aarey to Kanjarmarg was a major cause of controversy between the BJP and the Shiv Sena. This car shed is to be constructed under the underground Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ metro project. This 33.5 km long project was started during the time of Devendra Fadnavis government. Actually, Aarey Milk Colony of Goregaon is an urban forest spread over 1800 acres. More than 300 species of plants and animals live in this area. When the Fadnavis government started this project, its ally Shiv Sena opposed it. Shiv Sena’s youth wing Yuva Sena and its leader Aaditya Thackeray were leading the protest. Opponents argued that this move would harm the environment of Mumbai. Local people and environmentalists had also reached the court against this move of the government.

What did the court say in the case of Aarey Metro Car Shed?

The petitioners had challenged the BMC’s decision to allow felling of trees in Aarey in the court. The petitioners demanded that Aarey be declared a forest. However, on October 4, 2019, the Bombay High Court dismissed these petitions.

Within 24 hours of the court’s order, the Mumbai Metro Rail Cooperation Limited (MMRCL), working on this project, had cut more than two thousand trees in this area. The very next day the petitioner reached the special bench of the High Court. The special bench refused to stay the cutting of trees. The court said that it cannot give any stay on any oral statement.

However, two days later, the Supreme Court stayed the cutting of more trees. The Maharashtra government said in the court that all the trees that were to be cut have been cut. No more trees will be cut. Even after this, the court issued an order to maintain the status quo in Aarey. Later, MMRCL, which cut trees, also released the figures of trees cut. According to this, he had cut a total of 2,141 trees. There were also fierce protests in Mumbai against the cutting of trees.

How acrimonious was the protest against the cutting of trees in Aarey?

Locals had fiercely opposed the cutting of thousands of trees overnight after the BMC approved the cutting of trees and after the order of the court. Along with the common people, many activists and Bollywood stars also took to the streets in protest. People started ‘Save Are’ campaign. Section-144 was imposed by the Fadnavis government to suppress the protest. Over 500 policemen were deployed in the area to suppress the protest. 29 people were arrested. They were later released on bail on the directions of the Supreme Court.

What happened to Aarey after the Uddhav Thackeray government came to power?

A month after all this uproar, the Uddhav Thackeray government came to power in the state in November 2019. During the election, Aaditya Thackeray had promised to shift the car shed from Aarey to some other place. On 29 November 2019, a day after coming to power, Uddhav Thackeray overturned the decision of the Fadnavis government. The project was shifted from Aarey to Kanjarmarg. Along with this, about eight hundred acres of Aarey land was declared as Reserve Forest. In October 2020, the Mumbai Suburban District Collector transferred 102 acres of Kanjarmarg land to MMRDA. MMRDA transferred this land to the Delhi Metro Rail Cooperation, which is building a car shed and interchange station in this project.

What has been the stand of the central government in this whole matter?

The Center filed a petition in the Bombay High Court against the decision of the Uddhav government. The Center staked its claim on the allotted land in Kanjarmarg. On 16 December 2020, on the petition of the Center, the High Court stayed the order of the District Collector. This order kept on increasing from time to time.

What happened in eight years?

  • 2014: The then Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the construction of a car shed in Aarey. Protests started.
  • 2016: NGT orders Mumbai Metro Rail Cooperation to stop work.
  • 2018: NGT told Mumbai Metro Rail Cooperation – If you want relief, then go to the Supreme Court.
  • 2019: The High Court dismissed the petition to ban the cutting of trees, within 24 hours of the order, more than two thousand trees were cut. The Supreme Court banned the cutting of trees.
  • 2019: On coming to power, Uddhav Thackeray put a stop to the plan to build a car shed in Aarey, shifting the car shed to Kanjurmarg.
  • 2020: Mumbai Suburban District Collector transfers 102 acres of Kanjurmarg land to MMRDA, central government reaches court.
  • 16 December 2020: The High Court has stayed the order of the District Collector. This order kept on increasing from time to time.
  • 2022: As soon as the power is changed, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that the car shed will be built in Aarey itself.

Expansion

As soon as the power changed in Maharashtra, the decisions of the old government have also started changing. The first change happened in the very first meeting of the cabinet, when the government reversed the decision of shifting the Metro-3 car shed of the Uddhav Thackeray government from Aarey to Kanjamarg.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave instructions to the State Urban Development Department in this regard. Former Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray retaliated in this matter on Friday. Uddhav said that he was deeply saddened by the reversal of the decision. He said that the Shinde government should not play with the environment of Mumbai. The government should not take such decisions which may cause trouble to the people of Mumbai in future. Don’t take out the anger you have with me on the people of Mumbai.

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