ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Debating Metro Car Shed

Lessons for Aarey Movement

Activism for sustainable urban development cannot be singularly focused on one public good to the exclusion of others. Framing the conflict over Aarey as one between environment and development or trees and the metro sidelines the issue of making cities livable for the people.

The Bombay High Court in October 2019 dismissed petitions and allowed tree cutting in 30 hectare (ha) of Aarey land to accommodate a car shed for Mumbai Metro Line 3. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) moved quickly, cut necessary trees overnight before the dispute could be dragged in the Supreme Court and the media. Now is the time to analyse and reflect on the issue in a proper perspective.

The dispute was about one kind of public good, namely existing trees (and not environment) versus metro, hence rather tricky. It was also framed in a simple binary language of metro car shed versus living trees. No wonder it caught attention of minds hooked on to social media and TV. They all must be disappointed by the high court’s decision. Honestly, I was relieved by the decision, because it provided a neat by-pass surgery to remove a block in the path of Metro Line 3. As an urban planner I always have supported development of mass transit infrastructure in cities and opposed flyovers which are mainly constructed for private cars. The construction of metro network in Mumbai is the belated but right step for the metropolis. Naturally, getting rid of hurdles in its path is a necessary move.

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Updated On : 2nd Jan, 2020
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