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Dear Sir/Madam

Aarey, situated in Goregaon, one of Mumbai’s suburbs, is the green lungs of the city—a biotope that shelters scorpions and tarantulas, a treasure trove of birds, butterflies, amphibians and the leopard.

Aarey was once a part of the deciduous stretch of forests, now restricted to the adjacent Sanjay Gandhi National Park and hillocks. With the coming of the Aarey dairy co-operative, the thickness of the forests was broken up to create open ecosystems of grasslands, scrubs, marshes and water bodies, giving refuge to an interesting assemblage of species. The large open para grass fields are feeding grounds of Munias, Drongos and Egrets which have been cleared for the metro car shed. The drains that nurture these grass pastures are home to native fish species, crabs, shrimps and Checkered Keelback water snakes that are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, by virtue of being Schedule II creatures.

There are over 77 species of birds that can be found in Aarey, Hoopoe, Indian Roller, Grey Hornbill, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Rosy Starlings, Spotted Owlets and the Glossy Ibis, all in the heart of the city. A total of 34 species of wildflowers, 86 species of butterflies, 13 species of amphibians, 46 species of reptiles, several of these being listed under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, and 16 species of mammals, including the elusive and magnificent leopard, which is infact listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, have been documented in Aarey.

The Mumbai Metro 3 Car shed that is currently being constructed within Aarey (on the beds of the Mithi River) is a category 3 polluting industry. It is being built here despite the availability of alternate locations (Kanjurmarg, Mumbai University, Dharavi, Bombay Port Trust, SEEPZ, BackBay, Mahalaxmi Race Course) and the recommendations of the government’s own expert committee. Repeated objections and appeals from citizens groups from across the city have fallen on deaf ears. The current government has shown no seriousness and has demonstrated no will to even attempt to conserve the Aarey Forest.

Unfortunately, this unique biotope is under threat, not just from the Mumbai Metro 3 car shed, but also from a number of other projects that are vying to find space within the Aarey Forest. A comprehensive list of such projects has been provided below.

The Aarey Forest is also home to a large tribal population. There are 27 padas within Aarey and the tribal way of life is under severe threat due to the onslaught of ‘development projects’ that are making way into Forest Land. Some of these tribal families, have in fact, been forcibly moved to SRA projects which has in turn become a cause for immense suffering for these families.

As has been reported in numerous reports, a number of laws have been flouted by the government in its zeal to give way to private builders over public (forest) land. There are inconsistencies in the manner in which the new DP2034 has been drafted. Large chunks of green spaces have been handed over to builders including areas that should fall under protected zones.

The citizens of this state and of the country appeal to all political parties that during this pre-election time, they do not make unsustainable promises which later on will turn out to be detrimental to all. We appeal to the parties to promise that in the environmental sector they will commit themselves to protect the natural environment.

Environmental protection is important for people’s physical and mental well-being. It is within this context that the residents of the city of Mumbai in our humble opinion, are proposing that all future projects that have been proposed within Aarey Forest, including the Metro Car Shed, must be withdrawn forthwith. By excising such projects that harm, pollute and destroy the much needed forest cover in Mumbai, perhaps the governing bodies can demonstrate their will to finally, take serious steps towards preserving the little that remains of the green lungs of this city.

In the light of climate change phenomena that the entire world is now experiencing, it is of crucial importance that political organisations and national governments start demonstrating a sincere will to tackle the alarming rate of environmental degradation immediately and urgently draw up comprehensive policies to address it.

As heads of Political Parties whose members will become representatives at the Vidhan Sabha, Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, we hope that you will accept with all earnestness, responsibility towards a sustainable and environmentally sound model of development.

We, citizens and residents of this historic city, do hereby humbly seek your intervention to save these natural forests from needless destruction.

List of Projects:

MMRCL says we shouldn’t oppose its car shed because it is going to occupy a very small percentage – only 33 Ha – of Aarey Forest land. But that is precisely how an entire forest has been eaten up. And the same argument has been used every single time forest land has been diverted. Take a look at the following outrageous figures.

Land Distribution of Aarey Forest since 1970 –

1. SRA- During the Sushilkumar Shinde government, the ADF department had planned a SRA along the highway. Now, the hutments have also increased and the government has revived the plan and wants to give 180 acre.

2. Metro car shed – The MMRDA has planned Metro – III connecting Colaba with Seepz. Initially, the plan was to have a carshed under the Mahalaxmi race course, the plan drew criticism. Now the government has allotted 20 hectares land near Seepz

3. International Zoo: Upset with pathetic state of the Byculla zoo, the state wants to have an international zoo at Goregaon. The dairy development has granted 190 acres

4. Cemetries: Since aarey has a lot of open land, politicians started asking for cemetries. The BMC got a Hindu cremation ground along the highway of 2000 sq metres in 2006, the muslims got two burial grounds (one along highway and second along SEEPZ) of 7500 and 2500 sq metres.

5. Film City- To develop Bollywood further, the state transferred 329 acre 3 gunthas to the ministry of cultural affairs. Though the Film City gave a huge boost to the film industry, it created immense disturbance to wildlife in Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

6. MHADA: In 1977, the MHADA wanted land for low cost housing and the state transferred 26 acre 38 gunthas to MHADA which constructed Bimbisar nagar along highway.

7. Mahananda- Falling to pressure from western Maharashtra politicians, the dairy development department was forced to grant 27 acre, 9 gunthas in 1993. Today, Mahananda is a major competitor to Aarey brand.

8. Santacruz Electronic Processing Zone. Development of SEEPZ–16 acre in 1994

9. Force One. After the terror attacks on 26/11, the government decided to set up a force called Force one complex and granted –98 acre – 6 gunthas in 2009. also in 1977, a plot of 108 acre, 27 gunthas was given to State reserve police force for its complex. Now builders are eyeing this plot

10. Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link road. Constructed by the MMRDA, – 9 acres and two gunthas in 1979.

11. Police wireless station 1 acre 4 gunthas in 1971

12. Doodsagar cooperative housing society –5 acres in 1975

13. Construction of Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link road by MMRDA Water complex for BMC in Powai 65 acre 6 gunthas in 1962

14. Konkan agricultural university along the highway 145 acre in 1971.

15. RBI office near Film city –acres 36 gunthas near film city in 1987

16. Vanaspathi consveration laboratory 1 acre 25 gunthas in 1989

17. Construction of Goregaon Mulund Link Road 8 acre and 10 gunthas in 1974

18. Construction of low cost housing for MHADA (now Bimbisar nagar) – 26 acre – 38 gunthas in 1977/

19. Construction of Central Poultry – 26 acre 28 gunthas in 1972

20. Construction of milk cooperative Mahananda along Western Express highway – 27 acre 9 gunthas in 1993

21. Development of Modern Bakery –18 acre in 1966

22. Reliance substation now training institute – 40000 sq metres in 1993

23. Complex for state reserve police force –– 108 acre 27 gunthas in 1977

24. Development of Film City –329 acre 3 gunthas in 1989

25. Building for Maharashtra Earthquake Authority 1 guntha in 1998

26. BMC water supply unit– 5000 sq mt in 2007

27. Muslims cemetery along highway –- 7500 sq metres in 2010/

28. BMC water complex– Maroshi – 470 sq metres in 1979

29. Proposed SRA- 35 acre 6 gunthas along highway – in 2010 (will now encompass 180 acres)

30. Road for Amir park connecting – 17690 sq metres allotted in 1997-98

31. Central Dairy building near Mahananda 95603 sq metres in 1997

32. Two BMC pumping unit 40 x 40 metres located in Aarey colony unit no 16 and 20.

33. Construuction BMC school near Aarey dairy – five acres- 16 unit in 1963

34. Fisheries institute 10 acre – 28 guntha in 1962

35. Maharashtra Agro Industies –2 acre 27 gunthas. Near goregaon check naka in 1971

36. Ten plots of 20 x 15 sq metres for Reliance energy to supply power to slums in 1998 –IOC petrol along highway200 sq metres in 2006.

37. Muslims burial ground– 2500 sq metres- 2012

38. Five plots of 6.40 metres each to Reliance for supplying power to hamlets.– 2011

39. BMC water tunnel – 2040 sq metres in 2011.



Dear Sirs,

Aarey, situated in Goregaon, one of Mumbai’s suburbs, is the green lungs of the city—a biotope that shelters scorpions and tarantulas, a treasure trove of birds, butterflies, amphibians and the leopard.

Aarey was once a part of the deciduous stretch of forests, now restricted to the adjacent Sanjay Gandhi National Park and hillocks. With the coming of the Aarey dairy co-operative, the thickness of the forests was broken up to create open ecosystems of grasslands, scrubs, marshes and water bodies, giving refuge to an interesting assemblage of species. The large open para grass fields are feeding grounds of Munias, Drongos and Egrets which have been cleared for the metro car shed. The drains that nurture these grass pastures are home to native fish species, crabs, shrimps and Checkered Keelback water snakes that are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, by virtue of being Schedule II creatures.

There are over 77 species of birds that can be found in Aarey, Hoopoe, Indian Roller, Grey Hornbill, Chestnut-tailed Starling, Rosy Starlings, Spotted Owlets and the Glossy Ibis, all in the heart of the city. A total of 34 species of wildflowers, 86 species of butterflies, 13 species of amphibians, 46 species of reptiles, several of these being listed under Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, and 16 species of mammals, including the elusive and magnificent leopard, which is infact listed under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, have been documented in Aarey.

The Mumbai Metro 3 Car shed that is currently being constructed within Aarey (on the beds of the Mithi River) is a category 3 polluting industry. It is being built here despite the availability of alternate locations (Kanjurmarg, Mumbai University, Dharavi, Bombay Port Trust, SEEPZ, BackBay, Mahalaxmi Race Course) and the recommendations of the government’s own expert committee. Repeated objections and appeals from citizens groups from across the city have fallen on deaf ears. The current government has shown no seriousness and has demonstrated no will to even attempt to conserve the Aarey Forest.

Unfortunately, this unique biotope is under threat, not just from the Mumbai Metro 3 car shed, but also from a number of other projects that are vying to find space within the Aarey Forest. A comprehensive list of such projects has been provided below.
The Aarey Forest is also home to a large tribal population. There are 27 padas within Aarey and the tribal way of life is under severe threat due to the onslaught of ‘development projects’ that are making way into Forest Land. Some of these tribal families, have in fact, been forcibly moved to SRA projects which has in turn become a cause for immense suffering for these families.
As has been reported in numerous reports, a number of laws have been flouted by the government in its zeal to give way to private builders over public (forest) land. There are inconsistencies in the manner in which the new DP2034 has been drafted. Large chunks of green spaces have been handed over to builders including areas that should fall under protected zones.

The citizens of this state and of the country appeal to all political parties that during this pre-election time, they do not make unsustainable promises which later on will turn out to be detrimental to all. We appeal to the parties to promise that in the environmental sector they will commit themselves to protect the natural environment.

Environmental protection is important for people’s physical and mental well-being. It is within this context that the residents of the city of Mumbai in our humble opinion, are proposing that all future projects that have been proposed within Aarey Forest, including the Metro Car Shed, must be withdrawn forthwith. By excising such projects that harm, pollute and destroy the much needed forest cover in Mumbai, perhaps the governing bodies can demonstrate their will to finally, take serious steps towards preserving the little that remains of the green lungs of this city.

In the light of climate change phenomena that the entire world is now experiencing, it is of crucial importance that political organisations and national governments start demonstrating a sincere will to tackle the alarming rate of environmental degradation immediately and urgently draw up comprehensive policies to address it.

As heads of Political Parties whose members will become representatives at the Vidhan Sabha, Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, we hope that you will accept with all earnestness, responsibility towards a sustainable and environmentally sound model of development.
We, citizens and residents of this historic city, do hereby humbly seek your intervention to save these natural forests from needless destruction.

List of Projects:

MMRCL says we shouldn’t oppose its car shed because it is going to occupy a very small percentage – only 33 Ha – of Aarey Forest land. But that is precisely how an entire forest has been eaten up. And the same argument has been used every single time forest land has been diverted. Take a look at the following outrageous figures.

Land Distribution of Aarey Forest since 1970 –

1. SRA- During the Sushilkumar Shinde government, the ADF department had planned a SRA along the highway. Now, the hutments have also increased and the government has revived the plan and wants to give 180 acre.
2. Metro car shed – The MMRDA has planned Metro – III connecting Colaba with Seepz. Initially, the plan was to have a carshed under the Mahalaxmi race course, the plan drew criticism. Now the government has allotted 20 hectares land near Seepz
3. International Zoo: Upset with pathetic state of the Byculla zoo, the state wants to have an international zoo at Goregaon. The dairy development has granted 190 acres
4. Cemetries: Since aarey has a lot of open land, politicians started asking for cemetries. The BMC got a Hindu cremation ground along the highway of 2000 sq metres in 2006, the muslims got two burial grounds (one along highway and second along SEEPZ) of 7500 and 2500 sq metres.
5. Film City- To develop Bollywood further, the state transferred 329 acre 3 gunthas to the ministry of cultural affairs. Though the Film City gave a huge boost to the film industry, it created immense disturbance to wildlife in Sanjay Gandhi National Park.
6. MHADA: In 1977, the MHADA wanted land for low cost housing and the state transferred 26 acre 38 gunthas to MHADA which constructed Bimbisar nagar along highway.
7. Mahananda- Falling to pressure from western Maharashtra politicians, the dairy development department was forced to grant 27 acre, 9 gunthas in 1993. Today, Mahananda is a major competitor to Aarey brand.
8. Santacruz Electronic Processing Zone. Development of SEEPZ–16 acre in 1994
9. Force One. After the terror attacks on 26/11, the government decided to set up a force called Force one complex and granted –98 acre – 6 gunthas in 2009. also in 1977, a plot of 108 acre, 27 gunthas was given to State reserve police force for its complex. Now builders are eyeing this plot
10. Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link road. Constructed by the MMRDA, – 9 acres and two gunthas in 1979.
11. Police wireless station 1 acre 4 gunthas in 1971
12. Doodsagar cooperative housing society –5 acres in 1975
13. Construction of Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link road by MMRDA Water complex for BMC in Powai 65 acre 6 gunthas in 1962
14. Konkan agricultural university along the highway 145 acre in 1971.
15. RBI office near Film city –acres 36 gunthas near film city in 1987
16. Vanaspathi consveration laboratory 1 acre 25 gunthas in 1989
17. Construction of Goregaon Mulund Link Road 8 acre and 10 gunthas in 1974
18. Construction of low cost housing for MHADA (now Bimbisar nagar) – 26 acre – 38 gunthas in 1977/
19. Construction of Central Poultry – 26 acre 28 gunthas in 1972
20. Construction of milk cooperative Mahananda along Western Express highway – 27 acre 9 gunthas in 1993
21. Development of Modern Bakery –18 acre in 1966
22. Reliance substation now training institute – 40000 sq metres in 1993
23. Complex for state reserve police force –– 108 acre 27 gunthas in 1977
24. Development of Film City –329 acre 3 gunthas in 1989
25. Building for Maharashtra Earthquake Authority 1 guntha in 1998
26. BMC water supply unit– 5000 sq mt in 2007
27. Muslims cemetery along highway –- 7500 sq metres in 2010/
28. BMC water complex– Maroshi – 470 sq metres in 1979
29. Proposed SRA- 35 acre 6 gunthas along highway – in 2010 (will now encompass 180 acres)
30. Road for Amir park connecting – 17690 sq metres allotted in 1997-98
31. Central Dairy building near Mahananda 95603 sq metres in 1997
32. Two BMC pumping unit 40 x 40 metres located in Aarey colony unit no 16 and 20.
33. Construuction BMC school near Aarey dairy – five acres- 16 unit in 1963
34. Fisheries institute 10 acre – 28 guntha in 1962
35. Maharashtra Agro Industies –2 acre 27 gunthas. Near goregaon check naka in 1971
36. Ten plots of 20 x 15 sq metres for Reliance energy to supply power to slums in 1998 –IOC petrol along highway200 sq metres in 2006.
37. Muslims burial ground– 2500 sq metres- 2012
38. Five plots of 6.40 metres each to Reliance for supplying power to hamlets.– 2011
39. BMC water tunnel – 2040 sq metres in 2011.

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