Category: Uncategorized

The government is actively contributing to making Mumbai unliveable. They look at land not as a public asset but as a commodity to be given to greedy builders and corporates.

It is a shame that some 30,000 books of the Mantralaya library in Mumbai have been dumped into a godown in Tardeo. Perhaps it should not come as too big a surprise in an era when knowledge and scientific outlook are derided and falsehood is glorified by those in power.
It is dedicated individuals who are preserving the reading culture. Dr Anand Joshi, a member of the Asiatic library for decades, has donated Rs. One lakh to the library. I was present at a meeting of the modern book selection committee of the library yesterday when chairperson Mangala Sardeshpande made the announcement.
And there are several others including academics like Mani Kamerkar and Dr L.B. Kenny who have made donations to the library from their savings.
Similarly there are people all over who are helping in other institutions. . It is the government establishment that is failing us badly.

I used to be a member of Mantralaya’s useful library and I still retain the membership card. It used to be on the ground floor very conveniently located, opposite the information department of the government. There was another good library of the Indian Institute of Public Administration on the same floor.
These were shifted following the fire in the Mantralaya building in 2012 which caused extensive damage, killed 3 people and injured 15.
The books have been dumped elsewhere to make way for another office. This brings us to another point. The Maharashtra government and the civic body have shown a scandalous disregard for land and space.
They have given away acres and acres of government land to dubious organisations and now they are desperately short of space for their own projects. That is why we find the shameful spectacle of public space being invaded , people being robbed of access to these spaces, for Metro rail project, vehicle testing tracks and others.
And yet, no lessons have been learnt. It is disgraceful that the government wants now to sell whatever remaining land there is. People will lose the Mumbai port trust land spread over several hectares if they do not assert themselves. The government is actively contributing to making Mumbai unliveable. It seems it looks at land not as a public asset but as a commodity to be given to greedy builders and corporates shorn of any sentiment of public good.
Mantralaya bureaucrats should realise that there is valuable source material in the library which is not available on the internet.
No less shameful is the utter neglect of the Central library project. Part of the reason for this disgraceful state is the fact that few of the worthies in power care to read. I have been going also to the Council hall library and the Yashwantrao Chavan Centre library in the last several years and have seldom seen politicians there.Also severely neglected is the Mumbai Marathi Granth Sangrahalaya library in Dadar which has rare books and other source material on Marathi literature and the cultural life of Maharashtra.


 People have showed their love for Thane’s trees. Have you?
Help us send as many mails to authorities, so that together we can dream about a better, greener Thane.

Mail the objections!.



The Issue

The government of Maharashtra with the help of MMRDA is aplanning a road that connects Airoli to Thane but sadly there is no concrete plan in front of the citizens and 2800 plus trees are at the risk of being cut.

Draft My Petition

Dear Sir/Madam,

As per the advertisement being circulated on social media dated 2nd February, 2019 which was sanctioned by you on 27th January.  More than 2,800 trees are to be chopped by TMC and you are expecting objections and suggestions for the same.

The notice is not available on your website. Please do the same and thus extend the timeline once the notice is published online.

We noticed, there is no specific details about the number of trees to be transplanted or cut. Please release a list of trees with their species name, age, height, girth as well as which ones will be transplanted, which ones will be cut and the reason for why they cannot be saved including how many trees were tried to be saved and tentative site of transplantation.

With this, we would also be thankful if you could furnish the details of  transplantation expertise, people involved in the activity and past data of success or failure. Please see this mail as an objection from a worried citizen but also please see to it that the above details are up on the website with the details of a public hearing.

We see this act as a violation of Article 21, a Right to Clean Environment

The “Right to Life” under Article 21 means a life of dignity to live in a proper environment free from the dangers of diseases and infection. Maintenance of health, preservation of the sanitation and environment have been held to fall within the purview of Article 21 as it adversely affects the life of the citizens and it amounts to slow poisoning and reducing the life of the citizens because of the hazards created if not checked.

Thanking you,
Yours Sincerely

Two simple steps to voice your opinion and do your bit to #SaveThaneTrees
  • Step-1: Enter your name and email address below & click the “Draft My Petition” button. Your petition would be drafted and copied to the clipboard.
  • Step-2: Paste the drafted petition in your mail client and forward it using the following details –

In The News


The Times of India
Feb 02, 2019




2874 trees to be affected for construction of 1 road in Thane. What can you do?

2874 trees to be affected for construction of 1 road in Thane. What can you do?

We must file our objections in large numbers by Friday 8th Feb2874 trees to be affected for construction of 1 road in Thane!!!!

We must file our objections in large numbers by Friday 8th Feb.

Objection content:

We must object on the following points

1) No details of where this road is located is mentioned. Hence there is no way to check the status at site

2) No details are published on TMC website

3) No date for Public hearing is given

Removal of 2874 is a matter of grave concern & the public must get full details and opportunity to verify the proposal.
Kindly cancel this proposal as it has not complied with the provisions of Law & the Bombay HC Order.

The removal of 2874 trees is a matter of grave concern & ought never to be allowed.
We lodge our very strong objections against such tree removal proposals

Please post in your objections to:

Thane Tree Authority,

CFC Dept, Gr fl,

Thane Municipal Corporation, Thane 400602

For any further details contact [email protected]

Or [email protected]

The notice is attached below:

World wetlands day 2019 – the opportunity to understand the true value of natural resources including wetlands

World wetlands day 2019 – the opportunity to understand the true value of natural resources including wetlands

In accounting, an economic item’s historical cost is the original nominal monetary value of that item. Historical cost accounting involves reporting assets and liabilities at their historical costs, which are not updated for changes in the items’ values.

It is like owning Wipro shares bought in 1980 .RS. 10,000/ invested in 1980 is worth 535 crores today.
But balance sheet will show the asset value at 10000 only. Whereas if the same shares were to be bought today they will be shown at 535 crores. Somebody not knowing the true worth of these shares in first case will think he is a poor man .

We have been blessed by mother nature with so many natural things which have tremendous utilty for us but are neglected as they have come free to us and we are not valuing them properly.

Wetlands play an important role in reducing the impact of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and cyclones. Wetlands act as a natural sponge, absorbing and storing excess rainfall and reducing flooding.

During the dry season, they release the water stored, delaying the onset of droughts and reducing water shortages. The frequency of natural hazards has more than doubled; the majority is climate and weather related.
But these are being destroyed as the destruction of these resources is not reflected anywhere in monetory terms.

Whereas man-made dams & bridges etc. which are miniscule creations compared to natural systems are valued as crores are being spent in making them.

For example the Metro Car shed in Aarey Forest in Mumbai is coming at the cost of thousands of trees which have a huge value but not being taken into consideration while deciding the location of these sheds.

The only solution is to put value to each & every natural resources be it trees , forest , rivers , Mangroves or wetlands and publish it yearly with moneytory value . Then only it will be clear whether so called development projects are adding to value or resulting in loss of value .

For example in Navi Mumbai the authorities wanted to destroy 80 hectares of wetlands & mangroves to make golf course which would have resulted in severe consequences for the area like floods etc.

If you think this is the right solution please share it & ask for the government authorities to implement it.

-Sunil Agrawal is A Chartered accountant , environment lover & co founder of Save Navi Mumbai Environment Group.

Lakhs of Bauhinia leaves come to Chennai as substitutes because of the plastic ban. Are forests in central india prepared for this huge demand?

Lakhs of Bauhinia leaves come to Chennai as substitutes because of the plastic ban. Are forests in central india prepared for this huge demand?

At Chennai Central last week. Hundreds of bales of Bauhinia leaves coming from central India, as substitutes because of the plastic ban. Are forests far away prepared for this huge demand? Most unlikely.

The massive jump in demand for these leaves, from a far away (wealthier) place, is undoubtedly going to impact 1000s of mature trees in central India that will be stripped. Before banning, why didn’t we think of local alternatives?

This is going to cause an ecological disaster elsewhere, and a huge lost economic opportunity within Tamil Nadu. It is how the worst of globalisation works, regardless of whether between countries or within them, across places with differing priorities and levels of prosperity.

And the fact that TN can import these leaves at such a scale most likely means we are paying more for them than locals can/will, which then means locals will probably shift to….cheap plastic. We will have simply shifted the problem elsewhere. (Sound familiar?)

Worst of all: this is the kind of anticipatory story Tamil news media/ journalists should have done months ago, and provoked discussions at least among the tiny fraction of people who care. Instead all we got were celebrations of the plastic ban. At least now, perhaps?

Source: Kaveri Express

Rebuttal to the wall street journal article on Mumbai Metro 3

Rebuttal to the wall street journal article on Mumbai Metro 3

A journalist spoke to me for the contact details of Indigenous Tribal people who are staying in Aarey for many generations.

Laxmi is one such Tribal woman who was illegally evicted from a Tribal Hamlet called Prajapur Pada . Under the Indian law and as per Court orders ,Tribals can not be treated as slum dwellers and shifted to Slum Rehabilitation Buildings. They should be provided proper rehabilitation.

Metro Rail Corporation LTD (MMRCL) did not acknowledge the fact that Laxmi Gaikwad is a Tribal though Laxmi has all the valid documents to prove that she is a Tribal. She is also a petitioner in the High Court in a case against Metro Rail Corporation.

Construction of Metro 3 Carshed is destroying Floodplain of Mumbai’s infamous yet important Mithi river. Environment Experts from a committee appointed by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra mentioned in a report that this construction of Carshed on the flood plain may lead to flooding in the International Airport during monsoon.

For construction of the proposed carshed at Aarey, MMRCL will also cut 3500 + trees in a forest area and destroy rich biodiversity. There are many other land options to build the Carshed for Metro 3 line. But all the suggestions of the environment experts and citizens were ignored by the MMRCL. They never wanted to have a dialogue with the Citizens of Mumbai.

The article by WSJspeaks about MMRCL planting thousands of trees but we Citizens have not seen the proof. But we have proof to show that more than 50% trees transplanted by MMRCL are already dead.

Unfortunately these aspects have not been covered in this article and hence this article is only showing one side of the story.

Would request you to at least correct information about Laxmi Gaikwad in your article. Indigenous people have been exploited across the world for centuries. It is now time for the “educated” people to help them get their rights.

Amrita Bhattacharjee

(Amrita Bhattacharjee is a citizen who has been a part of Aarey Conservation Group and saving Aarey since 2014)

(The pic in the thumbnail is from the Aarey Satyagraha on October 2, 2018. Citizens across the city have been complaining about the metros high handedness and no concern for environment to the deaf ears of the dispensation)

After ruining farmers, govt intent on destroying fishers, not to mention marine wildlife.

After ruining farmers, govt intent on destroying fishers, not to mention marine wildlife.

29th December 2018

National Fishworkers Forum Rejects Cabinet Approval
for Coastal Regulation Zone [CRZ] Notification 2018

The Government is Bent on Selling Off the coast to Corporate and Business Houses And Eliminate Small Scale Fishing Communities from the Coast

The Government of India, by giving the cabinet approval to the Coastal Regulation Zone [CRZ] Notification 2018, has turned a deaf ear to the protests and objections raised by the thousands of fishing communities, concerned organisations and individuals from all around the coast and the country. The sole purpose of the Government of India in drafting and approving the CRZ 2018 Notification has been to pave way to further sell off our coastal land and water to corporate and business houses by removing restrictions on constructions and activities detrimental to coastal natural resources.

The objections submitted by the NFF and fishing communities indicated what the country stands to lose should the CRZ 2011 notification be superseded by the draft CRZ 2018 notification. It was clearly stated that the CRZ 2011 notification continue to be diluted. The CRZ 2011 process guaranteed not only environmental protection and livelihood security, but also was a reminder of the robust democratic processes and engagements it followed in its implementation. As such it provides a comparison to the shoddy, non-consultative, anti-fishworker process of the draft CRZ 2018. The implementation of the CRZ 2011 remains far from satisfactory. While the failure to implement the CRZ 2011 rests squarely with the MoEFCC and the State Governments, the relevance of CRZ-2011 is still high. While this being the reality, the Cabinet turned a blind eye to this, went ahead and apporved the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2018.

The intentions of this government is very clear through the salient features indicated in the CRZ Notification 2018 which looks at handing over the coasts to the corporates and the tourism lobby. National Fishworkers Forum calls for nation-wide protests for total withdrawal of CRZ Notification 2018.

Narendra R Patil T Peter
Chairperson General Secretary

HC Order dt 26.10.18 reg Aarey Metro3 Car Depot

The High Court of Mumbai on 26th October 2018  gave the following order.

Click on the link to download.

HC Order dt 26.10.18 reg Aarey Metro3 Car Depot

“We have other material on record which would denote that  the metro car Depot site forms a part of Aarey milk colony and not SGNP.,” the HC judgement said

But citizens have access to papers that show, Aarey Milk Colony land has been returned to SGNP while SGNP says they have no maps to the spread of the park before and after this aera was carved out of it

A walk in the greens of Aarey, A walk towards hope…

A walk in the greens of Aarey, A walk towards hope…

Under the tutelage of Renee Vyas, the Save Aarey group conducted an Aarey Tree Trail on 2nd December, 2018.

I have visited Chhota Kashmir with my grandparents several times before, and why wouldn’t I have? My grandparents, whilst spending their youth in South Mumbai, would travel up here with their friends for picnics – days packed with enjoying each other’s company and cooking food. So naturally, I am, too, very attached to this place. As my grandfather introduced me to the snails residing on huge lily leaves in Chhota Kashmir, he injected his love for conservation of nature into me.

But today, we had the opportunity to see Aarey Forest through a more complex lens.

We started our trail from the gate just opposite to Modern Bakery Bus Stop. Around 80 nature enthusiasts had gathered around and were listening to Vyas’s brief, after which we began walking on a slightly inclined path towards a tekdi. I could hear some murmurs going about how we might get to even see a leopard if we were lucky enough. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), we did not encounter leopards. However, we did see many people enjoying their morning bicycle rides in Aarey. Some were walking their dogs, some others were taking brisk walks – it seemed like they all were here to relax their exhausted souls in the pristine nature of Aarey Forest.

Soon enough, we approached a huge tree with a dark bark called ‘Ratan Gunj’. The tree bears red bead-like seeds in its pods. Along our trail, we came across other trees like Kaate Sawar, Australian Acacia, Aasan and Toddy Palm. We also saw a Banyan Tree, serving as a host to many other trees, completely entangling a Tad palm. We were shown Aghada and Murud Sheng as well, and were informed of their high religious and medicinal value.

Then we took a hike to the top of the tekdi from where we witnessed a breath-taking view of Aarey Forest, as well as the concrete jungle looming over it on its western side. It was disheartening to see that this concrete jungle seemed like it was about to swallow huge morsels of this beautiful forest as it approached it slowly. As we saw the threat with our very eyes, we were informed that the government had planned a Metro III car shed, a new RTO office, another zoo as well some other commercial establishments in this forest!

I could imagine standing here after 10 years, staring aghast at the ‘development’ of this land, remembering the scenery I am honoured to look at today.

Now, the question bubbles up in my mind, who are these people to grab our Aarey Forest and hand it over to the other greedy parties responsible for this destruction? Who has given them the right to destroy our gorgeous environment? These political parties severely lack empathy and connection towards Aarey, and towards Mumbai as a whole. We are the ones who have chosen this government, we are the ones paying taxes to sustain it. It is the government’s responsibility to repay us by providing us with benefits, and not by destroying the very air and water and earth that envelops us. These agencies are not just axing away at trees in Aarey but also at the common people’s health!

-Kaustubh Masurkar

The Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Cell is planning to install a bio-fence to protect the mangroves at Versova

The Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Cell is planning to install a bio-fence to protect the mangroves at Versova

The Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Cell is planning to install a bio-fence to protect the mangroves at Versova, Andheri West

Bio-fence is a natural fence built from shrubs or plants, like cactus or bougainvilla, which act as a natural barrier.

Mangrove isle arial view of a farm at kayamkulam after eight years . Embankment protection of fish ponds with bio fencing. true application of mangroves with benefit to farmer and ecology.

Looking forward to seeing this bio-fencing!
Interestingly, the aftermath of an FIR registered recently against stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma for allegedly destroying mangroves due to illegal construction near his bungalow in Andheri and other similar incidents, the state governments Mangrove Cell swung into action and came up with a project to construct a fence with Rs 20 crore budget, of which Rs six crore worth plan is approved. (As of 2017)