Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said that he had passed an order to stop work in the construction of the metro car shed project in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony area, PTI reported. In October, at least 29 people were arrested in connection with protests against the authorities’ move to cut trees, even as the Bombay High Court dismissed a series of petitions to stop the exercise, and give it the status of a forest.
“I have ordered to stop the work of Aarey metro car shed project today [Friday],” ANI quoted the newly appointed chief minister as saying. “Metro work will not stop but till next decision, not a single leaf of Aarey will be cut.”
The chief minister said that the overnight felling of trees was not acceptable. Soon after officially taking charge as the chief minister, Thackeray held a meeting with senior officials at Mantralaya, the state’s administrative headquarters.
Thackeray said that he became the chief minister unexpectedly and did not want to run away from the responsibility. “I am the first chief minister who was born in Mumbai,” Thackeray said, according to NDTV. “It is going on in my mind, what I can do for the city.”
On October 4, the Bombay High Court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision to allow the cutting of 2,646 trees. Along with several activists, Shiv Sena leaders, including corporator Sheetal Mhatre and deputy leader Priyanka Chaturvedi, had visited the site of the protests against the tree felling. Newly elected Shiv Sena MLA and Uddhav Thackeray’s son Aaditya Thackeray had also strongly advocated against the cutting of trees.