Free Press Journal: Mumbai: Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
In an affidavit submitted by Vanashakti, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has revealed that over 2,076 hectares of land at Aarey Colony was transferred to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) in 1969. Thus this land should be considered forest land. They reiterate that this land should be prevented from any kind of commercialisation and infrastructure development activity. The issue gains importance as Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is yet to clear his stand on whether a Metro carshed will be built here.
As per the documents received by the NGO under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, which are with the Free Press Journal, the revenue land of Aarey Milk Scheme (as it was known back then) measuring 2076.073 hectares was transferred to the Forest Division of the state of Maharashtra. In July 1980, 575 hectares was extracted for creating a recreational zone while 1501.073 hectares continued to be part of SGNP.
Further, in October 1980, the Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (FDCM) communicated to declare this recreational area as either reserve or protected forests under the Indian Forest Act, 1927. Therefore, the NGO has claimed that Aarey is a part of the park and thus is a forest and should be treated like one.