Decision Maker Response

Office of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra’s response

Oct 13, 2020 — From the Chief Minister’s Office, Maharashtra

Mumbaikars would be happy to note that the Maharashtra government has on 11th October, declared an 808-acre parcel of Aarey land near the Sanjay Gandhi National Park as a reserve forest.

This decision is an acknowledgement and recognition of the concerns of citizens who had campaigned to save Aarey, an area which serves as Mumbai’s lungs. People’s participation in the sustainable development of Maharashtra has always been sacrosanct to the vision and mission of the government of Maharashtra.

You will also be happy to note that the car shed will now be moved to Kanjurmarg from Aarey and the state government will provide the required land for “zero rupees” and the authorities have been instructed to begin work.

As citizens and environmentalists who took to the streets to protest against the tree felling that was carried out at night, and were booked for protesting against the devious act, you would be happy to note that the Cabinet has approved of withdrawing the charges filed against them.

The Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray has directed the Home Department to start the procedure for the same.

The decision should also resolve the fears expressed in the Change.org petition initiated by Mr. Rizwan Ashraffi and backed by over 87,000 citizens, seeking a halt to the cutting of several hundred trees in the Aarey forest area.

It is the sustained campaign of people around the world, championing the cause of the environment in Mumbai that brought the issue into focus and enabled the MVA state government to take decisive steps.

This state government is committed to sustainable development and to conserving the unique flora and fauna in the
metropolis in their natural habitat.

This decision of the Maharashtra government to preserve 808 acres near SGNP as a reserve forest will make it the first of its kind initiative anywhere in the world, in which a vast forest will be grown in the heart of a metropolis.

The state government will not rest with just conserving Mumbai’s urban flora. Directives have been given to ensure that while deciding on the reserved forest area, the rights of the tribal community, as well as others concerned, should be held sacrosanct.

This decision will protect Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the forest resources in Aarey and meet the long standing demand of concerned citizens.

The state government is committed to work together with citizens to ensure sustainable development, and build a Maharashtra that our future generations deserve.