Green activists say the move will aid the struggle against the proposed Metro car shed in Aarey colony

The Maharashtra government on Monday announced that 812 acres of notified land of Aarey Milk Colony, and Aarey land at Borivali, Goregaon, and Marol Maroshi village have been officially handed over to the State Forest Department and Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the decision “paves a path for a massive forest to blossom in the heart of Mumbai”. In September last year, the State government had decided to apply Section 4 of Indian Forest Act to the land declaring it as a reserved forest. The area does not include the land earmarked by the previous government for the Metro car shed project but is adjacent to SGNP. The land was earlier with the Dairy Development Department.

“Good news for Mumbai and Forests: the 812 acre area in Aarey, thriving as forests has been officially taken over today from Aarey Dept by @MahaForest . Now it is officially under the protection of the Indian Forest Act under section 4,” tweeted State Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray.

According to green activists, the move will aid the struggle against the proposed Metro car shed in Aarey colony. “We welcome the move. Take a bow all the citizens, NGOs and supporters of the Save Aarey movement. To get 812 acres of land protected as a forest in the city of Mumbai is nothing short of a miracle. One hell of a fight this one was and the outcome is really pleasing. The wildlife gets its home, Mumbai gets its forest,” said Stalin D. of the NGO Vanshakti, which works for the protection of Aarey land.

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