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Why Are Environment Concerns That Shelved Aarey Project Absent For Maharashtra’s Green Belt Areas?

green belt areas

Remember Aarey Metro car shed project that was shelved by Shiv Sena-led government? It was hailed as an environment-friendly move, even though the mobility project which the city of Mumbai so badly deserves gets a hit, as the experts have already stated that Mumbai’s Metro line 3 is not feasible without the Aarey car shed. We had carried a detailed analysis on how the concerns against the project and all the noise of activism in this regard are misinformed.

If at all the intention of Uddhav Thackeray’s government is about protecting the environment, should it not reflect in other areas as well? But it seems to be mere politics of convenience. According to a recent report in The Indian Express, Maharashtra government has proposed to relax the rules to allow club-houses and pools in green-belt area.

What are these green-belts? They are marked areas usually alongside river fronts, nullahs and other eco-sensitive areas. The construction activity is restricted on these areas.

According to the report, Maharashtra government has now permitted building of club houses, swimming pools and other recreational facilities on green belts across Maharashtra.

These new regulations that come in force are applicable to all civic bodies and metropolitan areas except Mumbai and a few special zones.

The buffer areas along the riverfront are now open for building boat clubs, jogging park and other means of recreations.

Coming back to the issue of Aarey, it was nowhere recorded as forest land. The land allotted for the metro car depot was only 2% of the total green belt of Aarey colony. The land was allotted following the due process of law which was upheld by first the High Court and later the Supreme Court.

Despite these facts the project that was crucial to ease Mumbai’s traffic congestion was shelved and the move was hailed as ‘environment-friendly’ decision. But now, it appears that all the wokes who rallied against Aarey project can enjoy their club houses and boat club events in the various places of Maharashtra that may come up destroying a significant green cover.