Cops refuse Aarey entry to animal, bird rescuers
Mumbai: A rescue party for arboreal creatures lying injured and homeless at the metro shed site in Aarey was turned away by the police on Tuesday. The group of animal welfare workers and wildlife activists had arranged two ambulances for birds and animals that had become collateral damage in the tree-felling blitz of Friday night.
“We could not save a single life, though there are bound to be several species out there struggling to survive now,” Anand Siva, an activist, said. Siva said he had contacted the local police station a day in advance seeking permission to enter the site where the Metro-3 car shed is planned. “When our group of volunteers went there on Tuesday morning, the police refused to allow us to go to the actual site,” Siva said.
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) had begun axing trees under the cover of darkness on Friday, hours after the Bombay high court dismissed petitions against the cutting down of 2,185 trees at the site.
“Considering that a major part of the biodiversity at the area has been suddenly wiped out with the cutting of over 2,000 trees, we were only trying to help out any injured species, like [injured chicks] in fallen bird nests, squirrels and snakes, among others,” Siva said.
Pawan Sharma, an honorary wildlife warden and activist of Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare (RAWW), said the police should have allowed them in on “compas
A police officer said the animal activists had visited the Aarey police station. “The permission was not granted because the premise belongs to the MMRCL. The animal activists were asked to get permission from the MMRCL to get access inside,” the officer said.
Veteran bird watcher and naturalist Sunjoy Monga said this time of the year there are young ones of several bird species in trees. “Hence, it would be advisa
ble to let volunteers try and rescue whatever young birds that may have survived after the trees were cut,” he said.
RTI activist and former state forest official Hemant Chhajed said: “The forest department, MMRCL, BMC chief among others, can be booked under sections 6, 7, and 22 of the National Biodiversity Act, 2002. Also under sections 9 and 28 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for the habitat destruction of the natural environment.”
Full report on www.toi.in
Chopped trees lie at the site of Metro car shed in Aarey on Tuesday