Cops refuse Aarey en­try to an­i­mal, bird res­cuers

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Vi­jay Singh & V Narayan

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

The

sion­ate grounds”.

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

MM, Bccl

Chopped trees lie at the site of Metro car shed in Aarey on Tues­day

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