Bengaluru 15 January, 2018 Over 2 lakh Indians across the country have come together to show their support against the proposed mass deforestation at Aarey Colony. In December, Mansi Singh, a 19-year-old student from Mumbai, started a petition on Air A!ert, Jhatkaa.org’s air pollution campaigning platform, against the chopping down of 3,500 trees for a Mumbai Metro project.
Over two years ago, the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government along with the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), decided to take over a vast section of Aarey Colony in Mumbai to build a car shed as part of the Metro 3 project. Aarey is one of the last stretches of green cover in the city, and the cutting down of 3,500 trees for the project would effectively wreak havoc on the city’s ecosystem.
“We cannot afford to lose our cities’ green cover, especially since air pollution in Mumbai hit an all-time high this winter. Despite this, MMRCL is hell bent on cutting down trees to build a metro car shed,” said Singh. “There are alternative sites that can be considered for constructing this metro shed. Infrastructure cannot come at the cost of Mumbai’s natural air purifiers,” she added.
According to the Aarey Conservation Group (ACG) the area’s status has been changed from public land to commercial use without due public consultation, when it actually falls under the ambit of Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The group has filed a case with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) contesting the controversial land use change and the hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, January 16.
Apart from empathetic Mumbaikars, Indians from various states gathered mass support by signing email petitions and sharing the campaign through SMS, WhatsApp and other social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Interestingly, almost 95 per cent of the signatures came through missed calls and the campaign continues to grow from strength to strength.
“We’ve seen some massive numbers in just the past few days, proving that mobile campaigning is the new frontier of advocacy in today’s Internet age,” said Jyotsna George, a campaigner with Jhatkaa.org. “People don’t always have the time to come on the streets to voice their opinion. With such a time-sensitive campaign -- just 24 hours left for the NGT hearing -- citizens have used technology and shared the petition via their smartphones,” she added.
To support/ know more about the campaign, click here, or give a missed call on 08030630959.
Jhatkaa.org is a campaigning organisation committed to building grassroots citizen power across India in effective and innovative ways. Jhatkaa.org helps people take action collectively on issues that interest or affect them, and create change that would not be possible if they acted alone.
Jhatkaa.org also collaborates with civil society to engage citizens to hold corporate, cultural and government leaders accountable in real time at key decision moments through various digital communication platforms. Read more about Jhatkaa.org’s victories and press hits.
For more information, please contact:
Jyotsna George Yash - Aarey Conservation Group
Noah D’Mello Shikha Kumar