Recently Aarey has been seeking much attention from the entire nation. Aarey forest, also known as Aarey milk colony, is also said to be the last lung of Mumbai. It was initially developed for building milk colony for dairy development. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated this colony in the year 1951.
Soon after its formation, the exploitation of this area started. In 1977, a part of it was carved out for the construction of Film City, and also the National Park formed a part of it later on.
Now MMRC (Mumbai Metro Railway Corporation) has been trying to implement a project for the construction of metro car shed in the forest. This decision ignited people against the cruel decision of the government to cut down trees and causing harm to the environment for the sake of practical development which was followed by protest.
Let me ask you a question, where and why these activists and people were silent for the last two years?
What forced them to protest for Aarey now?
Around 2700 trees needed to be cut for the implementation of this project. The irony is that almost 2000 trees are already being MURDERED. This decision was proved to be reasonable and justified in court; people still stood against it. People and activists were trying to protect the trees by going against the judgement and were arrested and put behind bars.
What is Government’s say in the matter of Aarey?
The government claimed that this project of metro car shed would help to reduce pollution and bring it down many folds. Once the metro is built, people would prefer to travel in the metro rather than in personal vehicles. This will not only help to reduce pollution in the atmosphere but will also help to conserve many resources like fossil fuels.
Being a metro city, the population in Mumbai increases drastically with the pass of every day. The scopes of employment and many other factors lead to the inflow of people. The government claims that with metro, it would help in reducing pollution. Moreover, it would aid in controlling, reducing and managing traffic jams which are a matter of concern in Mumbai.
The idea of government is justified and right on their part as well as it proved right in court too. However, people are in no way to accept the proposal and didn’t get any satisfaction from the justification provided by the government. They argued that the decrease in the number of cars would lead to reduced pollution, but who will work for releasing oxygen in the atmosphere? Metro?
Isn’t its an irony?
To conserve a resource, our government is keen on murdering a resource. People protested and asked for an alternative which comes from sustainable development. But unfortunately, the government failed to find any in that respect.
Aarey IS, but as most of it has already been murdered, it would rather be better to say that Aarey WAS a vital source of oxygen in Mumbai.
It was not the only place for trees but also provided shelter to many natural organisms. It’s trees helped to maintain the stability in the atmosphere by consuming carbon dioxide and by releasing oxygen in the process of photosynthesis. These trees also helped in the natural cycles of our environment, which contributed to maintaining climate stability.
The government justified their decision and also had an answer to this problem; they said that they had compensated the loss by planting around the same number of trees.
But how will those small saplings compensate for the amount of same oxygen released instantly? How will it compensate for the loss of an entire ecosystem and for the life which lost their shelter?
This logic of government is similar to a situation when a person suffering from a deadly disease is being treated in a way which focuses more on its prevention and not on cure. What’s the sense of concentrating on precaution after the illness has been caused?
To find a solution for this PARADOX is not easy. Both the parties are right on their sides; it has become a matter of perspective and the degree with which one understands it.
People and activists who are working as environmentalists and conservationists are entirely right on their part. However, at the same time, the government approached this situation practically and responsibly. The government is providing a solution whereby giving material comforts and also rectifying practical problems of human’s everyday life.
Supreme court recently passed orders to stop the ongoing process of cutting trees under the project of MMRC. However, its actions are already too late for everything as most of the trees are murdered.
Why can’t development and nature co-exist?
Sustainable development is a perfect solution in such situations where nature stands on one side and development on others.
As responsible citizens, we have chosen our government by putting our trust in them. It is the time for them to prove and justify our decision of choosing them by taking effective action in time of the problematic situation.