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Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Aarey issue: hidden truths & facts

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true” – Soren Kierkegaard

I, for one, believe there is a third way and that is to trust a wolf in a sheep’s skin. We live in the age of information and yet it is very easy to manipulate information as well as media and thereby public opinion. Bharatiyas are emotional by nature which makes it even easier to manipulate them and that is exactly what NGOs and activists have been doing.

The recent protests at Aarey where a Metro shed is about to be constructed is a classic case in point. If the rise of NGOs and protests are anything to go by, then we can safely assume that there is more than what meets the eye. Most of them have a hidden agenda and using the support of pliable English-language media which is ever ready to amplify any ‘liberal’-sounding cause, they carry out the bidding of their masters i.e. moneybags who would do anything to halt Bharat’s progress.

Aarey Metro Car Shed

Aarey Colony, Goregoan (East) has been selected as the site for constructing a Metro Shed for Metro Line 3. But to say that this site was considered arbitrarily and alternative sites were not considered at all would be a gross misrepresentation of facts. MMRCL website clearly provides the timeline of events (see Pages 4 & 5 of their October 2018 newsletter) and states that due to a delay in land acquisition of alternative sites on account of litigations, Aarey was decided as the most suitable site for construction of Metro Shed.

The proposed Metro Shed is to be constructed on the outer rim of Aarey colony, away from eco-sensitive zone. Also, it will be spread over 25 hectares, as against the 30 hectares proposed earlier, thereby leaving considerable amount of greenery intact. Another important point to be noted is that just 2700 of the more than 4.5 lakh trees will be felled; that is 0.6% of the total trees in the area and MMRCL has assured that as compensation it will plant 6 trees for every tree that will be cut down as part of the project.

In addition, the Bombay High Court has assured that a monitoring mechanism would be in place to ensure that MMRCL complies with the conditions. Therefore, fears of environmental damage are unfounded.

Aarey protests: who is running the show?

These days activism is fashionable and many simply jump on to the bandwagon to appear ‘cool’. Aarey protests are led by Aarey Conservation Group supported by NGOs Vanashakti, Greenline, SPROUTS, Praja, National Environment Watch, AGNI etc. The protests received support from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in 2015 and subsequently from both Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS). 

On the face of it, this seems like a protest by NGOs concerned about the environment. But dig a little deeper into the activities and antecedents of these NGOs and a different story will emerge – a story of how missionary-funded NGOs are trying to derail development in Bharat under the garb of environmental protection.

Source: Facebook

The Aarey protests gathered steam only after government decided to use a plot earlier reserved as a cemetery in Aarey for the Metro.

Many of these NGOs are under the scanner of Central authorities for their dubious antecedents and activities. Vanashakti, one of the leading NGOs involved here, is run by a lethal combination of Abrahamics and Marxists. Abrahamics and Marxists have always joined hands to undermine Bharat in some form or the other, and the latest ploy seems to be environmental activism.

D Stalin, former Greenpeace activist Kavita Mallya, Ahmad Ali, Sarita Fernandes and Firdos Khan are the lead activists of Vanashakti. The interesting thing is that Home Ministry banned Vanashakti from raising funds under FCRA based on intelligence inputs that the NGO was involved in actions against public interest; now, fresh allegations have come to light that the NGO is still appealing for foreign funds despite the FCRA rejection, and is involved in other dodgy dealings.

Reading between the lines

It is always important to go beyond what is obvious and consider facts that media will never show you. In the Aarey case as well, the public has been hoodwinked by NGOs in general and Vanashakti in particular. 

This is not the first time construction activities have taken place within Aarey colony. Royal Palms and Filmcity (which has been expanding) are located within the Aarey colony, and in fact Royal Palms is actually an encroachment into Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). In that case we would expect an ‘environmentally conscious’ NGO like Vanashakti to oppose all construction activities, isn’t it?

Well far from that, Vanashakti had actually batted for Royal Palms plot to be considered by MMRCL. What is not being said though is that Royal Palms, like Shylock, wants to extract its pound of flesh. Cleverly, instead of seeking money for the plot (as quoted by Vanashakti in the above article), Royal Palms sought 4 FSI on the plot. This was found to be both economically and technically unviable, in addition to being environmentally damaging.

In Mumbai, every square inch of land is very valuable and hence it does not make financial sense for the government to provide higher FSI for a plot when they have their own land available for use without any additional cost. The question every Mumbaikar should ask is: what purpose does it serve for an NGO to support a real estate company? And when the said company is not really offering the plot for free, why would Vanashakti make such a claim?

While protecting the environment is a good cause in itself, raising the bogey of ‘environment under threat’ in this case is both subversion of facts and just another misguided attempt at activism. As informed and responsible citizens, it is our duty to go beyond what the media (needless to say that it has its own agenda) shows and make a choice after considering all facts.

Apart from Metro, Vanashakti is also opposing other much-delayed development projects in Mumbai & surrounding areas: Navi Mumbai international airport & Coastal Road.

Dubious NGOs supported by Abrahamics and Marxists and backed by publicity-hungry political outfits have come together for an agenda that goes beyond just protecting the environment. We can either become emotional and put our faith in these ‘wolf in sheep’s skin’ or make an effort to read between the lines to understand the true agenda of these NGOs: from Kudankulam to Aarey, their single point agenda is to halt Bharat’s progress march. 

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A opinionated girl-next-door with an attitude. I'm certainly not afraid to call myself 'a proud Hindu' and am positively politically incorrect. A Bharatiya at heart who loves reading, music, sports and nature. Travelling and writing are my passions.



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