Shiv Sena to Cut Over 1,000 Trees in Aurangabad to Build Bal Thackeray Memorial

It was only two months ago, when the mass tree-cutting episode in Aarey Milk Colony, Mumbai, left the whole country rattled. Over 2,000 trees were cut overnight to clear out space for a metro car shed. So far, Shiv Sena has been criticising the incident and rooting for eco-conservation by cancelling the metro project. But, since the party came into power, it seems to be tracking back its steps as Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) wants to cut 1,000 trees for a Bal Thackeray memorial in Priyadarshini Park.

The first decision that newly elected CM Uddhav Thackeray took after assuming the power in Maharashtra on November 29 was to halt the cutting of trees for the metro car shed. The reports of trees to be cut for Bal Thackeray memorial, the late party founder, by Shiv Sena-governed AMC  have emerged after the halt on metro car shed project.

Priyadarshini Park is dense wood spanning over 17 acres in the middle of Aurangabad serves as a green lung to the city. Besides, this park is used for walking, jogging and leisure activities. Reportedly, it is home to 70 species of birds, 40 species of butterflies, and various reptiles and small mammals.

Also Read: Mass Tree Cutting in Aarey Colony for Proposed Metro Car Shed Stirred Protests in Mumbai

The memorial will be built on three acres of land in Priyadarshini Park with a cost of Rs 61 crore. The memorial will also have an amphitheatre, a museum, and a food court.

Sunny Khinwsara, a lawyer for petitioners who have filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court said that according to AMC’s own project report there is a need to cut at least 1,000 trees in the park.

AMC’s affidavit in court is silent on the number of trees needs to be cut for the project. It just says ‘minimum number’ of trees will be cut. In fact, in an advertisement published by AMC in a local newspaper, it had invited tenders for the cutting of 330 trees.

he further added.

He also said that the park was taken by the AMC, on the terms to maintain a public garden there, from City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO). In his affidavit, Khinwsara has claimed that the condition of the park has deteriorated after it was taken over by AMC in 2016 and over 1,200 trees have either been cut or dried up.

Reportedly, the CIDCO handed over the land in the 1980s to Mahatma Gandhi Mission, who converted the barren land to a lush green park over the years by planting more than 10,000 trees.

Shiv Sena to Cut Thousands of Trees in Aurangabad to Build Memorial for Bal Thackeray

Priyadarshini Park in Aurangabad / Image: Scoop Whoop

As the news broke out that over 1,000 trees are required to be cut for the memorial, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis’ wife Amruta labelled Shiv Sena as “hypocrite”. Prior to the assembly elections, BJP’s former ally Shiv Sena had opposed the cutting of trees at Aarey Colony citing environmental concerns.

However, Nandkumar Ghodele, Aurangabad Mayor, claimed in a media statement that his administration would not allow trees to be cut for the construction of the memorial. He said that they will abide by directions given by CM Uddhav Thackeray.

The people have been criticising the decision to cut trees for the memorial. It would be interesting to see what further actions will be taken by Shiv Sena and CM Thackeray regarding the issue of trees to be cut for Bal Thackeray memorial.

Via: Mumbai Mirror

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