The fight between Mumbai environmentalists and Maharashtra government over the chopping down of nearly 3,000 trees in Aarey colony for the construction of a car shed for Metro III project doesn’t seem to be coming to an end after the former sought divine intervention on Sunday, May 14. In a unique form of protest, the activists carried saplings of four different plants to all the four holy places, including the Siddhivinayak temple, seeking their blessing.

Around 90 environment activists of Mumbai got together on May 14 to march from Dadar to Andheri. They began their ‘padyatra’ from Shivaji Park and reached Siddhivinayak temple at 7.30 am to seek blessing for the sapling, which were of pipal, mango, udumbara and baobab. They walked on; later, they went to Haji Ali Dargah at Worli, Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara at Dadar East and finally, ended their march at Holy Family Church at Andheri East.

“You can plant a tree but can’t make forest, it’s blessing of god. The message was ‘Save Aarey’ and stop cutting forests in the name of god. All four samplings were taken to holy places for blessing as symbolic gesture and on next Sunday we will plant saplings in Aarey,” said Priya Mishra, a member of Aarey Conservation Group (ACG).

Mumbai Dabbawalas, too joined their protest and campaigned for ‘Save Aarey’. The Dabbawala Association spokesperson Subhash Talekar stated that it’s important to protect the environment so that our future generation do not face any form of diseases because of the aftermath of the blind felling of these trees.

Since last two years, the environmentalists are fighting against Maharashtra government for the construction of the Metro III car shed in Aarey Colony. Several activists are even planning on to approach the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with the help of the Japanese embassy to enlighten the funding agency of the environmental impact of the project.