After campaigning against the felling of trees in Mumbai's Aarey Colony months ago, Shiv Sena has reportedly sanctioned the Aurangabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to chop down 1000 trees for a Bal Thackeray memorial.
According to Mumbai Mirror Uddhav Thackeray's party, that recently stalled the Aarey-shed project after coming to power, has been controlling the AMC for the past 25 years.
The AMC, dominated by Sena bigwigs, plans to build a massive memorial for Thackeray at Aurangabad's Priyadarshini Park comprising an amphitheatre, a museum and a food court.
Speaking on behalf of the petitioners who filed a PIL against the felling of trees in Aurangabad, lawyer Sunny Khinwsara said:
As per AMC’s own project report there is a need to cut at least 1000 trees. However, AMC's affidavit in court is silent on the number of trees needed to be cut for the project. It just says 'minimum number' of trees will be cut.
Claiming that the AMC willfully do not hold possession of the land, he continued:
In our counter-affidavit we have pointed out that the land doesn't belong to AMC. It has been taken on lease from City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) and the least conditions clearly state that AMC will maintain a public garden there.
Aurangabad mayor Nandkumar Ghodele ensured the public that no trees will be affected or chopped down for the project and said:
We will ensure no trees are cut while building the memorial and will abide by the directions given by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray ji.
“There has been talks circulating that we are going to cut trees to build a memorial for HinduHriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray. As a Mayor, I would like to clarify — we are going to ensure that no trees are cut for the construction of the memorial.— Shivsena Communication (@ShivsenaComms) December 8, 2019
-Mayor Nandkumar Ghodele pic.twitter.com/IANbWWpc7F
Despite the mayor's assurance, netizens were upset with Shiv Sena and took to Twitter to express their anger.
In fact, ~ 5000 trees are being cut in Priyadarshini Garden, Aurangabad for Bal Thackeray memorial. And @AUThackeray who called Fadnavis govt. ‘shameful & disgusting’ during Aarey episode is absolutely quite. Seems @OfficeofUT & his family are royalty: whatever they do is right!— Kaustubh Pethe (@kauspet) December 8, 2019
#aareyforest— Akshay paliwal (@AkkiPaliwal01) December 8, 2019
Instead of chopping #aurangabadforest
Why not make a memorial by reconstructing a park in Aurangabad. Trees bring life and vitality to a place, a good way to remember a #balasaheb. pic.twitter.com/2saxmb46DA
#Aarey MetroShed being private and non-forest, developed to decrease Mumbai Pollution...#Libtards & SS have Eco issues #AurangabadForest ... being actually a real forest & EcoConservation zone... #Libtards & SS OK with cutting down thousands of trees for memorial#Hypocrisy— Nationalist (@SatyaDevGuru) December 8, 2019
Shows @ShivSena cares 2 hoots about public convenience as is evident from putting all ongoing projects on hold meaning lots and lots of delays n cost escalation, holding aarey project affecting millions of mumbaikars but axing thousands of trees for 1 man appeasement BSthakrey🤔— Pushkar Bhatt Proud Indian Pahadi Gujju🙏 (@Pushkar10169) December 8, 2019
Lavasa in different name different party Shiv Sena— Abhijit Chatterjee (@abhijitc4) December 8, 2019
A nightmare for Indian Banks again to the way to witnessing another scam in #Maharastra cover by Bal Thackeray
RIP environment protesters https://t.co/d8nrbnGJH0 pic.twitter.com/TLPnqmf8EF
Sadly the condition of the park has deteriorated since it was taken over by AMC from CIDCO in 2016.