In a scathing attack, the Aam Aadmi Party on Friday said they strongly condemned the Maharashtra government’s inaction and indifference, towards the string of successive fires at the Aarey forests. The fires seem conspicuous and raise several unanswered questions, such that sabotage, through arson cannot be ruled out.
Questioning the Maharashtra Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray, AAP asked, “What he is doing? This is a gross dereliction of duty. What happened to all the tall claims to save Aarey? Is this a back door attempt to cheat Mumbaikars, and grab Aarey for the builders?”
Preeti Sharma Menon, AAP Mumbai leader said, “We demand a report from the Fire Department as to the number of fires in the last two months, how far the fires were from each other, whether the land on which the fires took place is part of any proposals submitted by builders, and why the Fire Department is not investigating any foul play.”
“This is a pattern. We first saw this in the case of Mumbai’s mangroves, where the mangroves were burnt down, the land was reclaimed, and then occupied. Post this, an attempt was made to pass off this occupied land as a non-forested area. Now this is happening with Aarey”, claimed AAP.
The Aam Aadmi Party has always been at the forefront of the fight to save Aarey. We will not tolerate the indifference of the Maharashtra government, as well as the BMC, which has been turning a blind eye to these fires. As per reports on the ground from locals, vested interests are involved in these fires – with a clear attempt of destroying the forest and encroaching the land, added Menon.
This comes following after several fire incidents were reported in Aarey earlier in this month. On March 6, there was a big fire in Aarey near Modern Bakery, which was put out by Mumbai Fire Brigade. Then in the same week, at least three major fires were reported from the area.
List of total fires which have been compiled by activists and residents on the ground
1. 18th March – Royal Palms, Imperial Palace Hotel slope
2. 18th March – Unit No. 32
3. 17th March – between aarey dairy and unit 16 school
4. 16th March – Unit No. 3
5. 15th March – Daytime fire Vihar Lake road
6. 14th March – Huge fire unit no.16 near Aarey Dairy.
7. 14th March – Smoke from unknown second sight
8. 13th March – Night big fire near Aarey Dairy CEO Bungalow. No attempt by CEO to contact fire brigade
9. 11th March – Unit 22, opposite metro shed in front of police camera
10. 7th March – Jambori Maidan and in front of Khadakpada
11. 6th March – Modern bakery, daytime
12. 5th March – Modern bakery, night
13. 5th March – Unit no. 1 Oshiwara river
14. 3rd March – Tapeshwar temple – in front of temple
15. 2nd March Night – In front of Khadakpada
16. 25th February – Bangoda /Filter Pada/Jambori Maidan
17. 21st February – Aarey Guest house Dongar. 2 fires; First in evening, Second at night.
18. 15th February – Royal Palms fire
19. 8th February – Tapeshwar temple at MMRCL transplantation plot by Hari Infra
20. 7th February – Tapeshwar temple at MMRCL transplantation plot by Hari Infra
21. Post fire, JCB work ongoing at the Raheja fire plot at Dindoshi hill