Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar today came out in support of felling of trees at Aarey Colony in north Mumbai, saying as per the High Court ruling it is "not a forest area".
"The High Court ruled yesterday that it is not a forest. You can't fell anything that is forest," he said, adding that people had also protested during felling of trees for Delhi Metro's construction.
The Bombay High Court on Friday refused to declare Aarey colony a forest and also declined to quash the BMC tree authority's decision allowing felling of over 2,600 trees in the green zone to set up a metro car shed. "The greens (environmentalists) have failed," it had said. The process to raze the trees began hours later.
"There was a need to fell 20 to 25 trees for setting up the first metro station in Delhi and then also people had similarly opposed it. But for each tree that was cut, five saplings were planted," he said.
Mr Javadekar said the forest cover in the national capital has increased since then and public transport system has also improved.
"This is the mantra of 'vikas bhi, paryavaran ki suraksha bhi' (development with environment protection)," the BJP leader added.
The Mumbai police today imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Aarey Colony and surrounding areas, banning unlawful assembly, following strong protests by activists against the felling of trees in the green zone for a Metro car shed.