Mumbai, 15th July 2022: On the one hand, there is a debate over whether Aarey is a forest, and on the other hand, it has been revealed that leopards live in the car shed space in Aarey. Cameras installed by the Forest Department have shown five leopards, wild cats, mongooses and Saradas in the area of Aarey car shed.
Environmentalists have opposed the construction of a car shed in Aarey for ‘Metro3’ (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz). Meanwhile, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have announced to shift the car shed at Kanjurmarg back to Aarey.
While the controversy over the car shed has been going on since 2014, there is also a controversy over whether Aarey is a forest or not, and its biodiversity. Devendra Fadnavis has often expressed the stance that Aarey is not a forest. Even the car shed supporters are constantly arguing that it is not a forest.
But environmentalists and Aarey residents are firm on the opinion that Aarey is a forest. Meanwhile, it is seen that the space in Aarey, which is about to become a car shed, is home to five leopards, wild cats, lizards and other wildlife.
Former Environment Minister Aditya Thackeray had directed the Thane Forest Department to document the wildlife in Aarey. Accordingly, cameras have been installed in the space of Aarey car shed.
“According to the report, between November 2021 and June 2022, wildlife was found in the car shed area. The presence of wildlife in the Aarey car shed is a slap in the face to politicians and administrative officials who claim that the Aarey car shed does not fall into the forest area,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director of Vanashakti.