To make way for a metro car shed, a number of trees have already been cut down in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, which has more than five lakh trees and is home to birds and animal species as well as tribal villages. NT KURIOCITY asked the Goan youth if they think it’s necessary to fell trees for modern transport system or any development for that matter

I firmly believe we need development. Yes, we need the metro, we need transport services and development, but, if is not sustainable and done at the cost of damaging the environment, I do not consider it development. A little cutting of trees here and there yes, but when in a democratic setup and if the people do not want it to be done, it isn’t development. It is not rocket science to understand that there are other vested interests. Our country for that matter is going through an economic slowdown. The lower strata of our country lack medical facilities and good education. The roads have are very bad and the list goes on. I personally believe we are not being fair to the nature. And someday it’s going to hit back. It is giving us intimations and warnings.

Harsh Kamat, photographer, resident of Margao currently based in Mumbai

Personally, I would rather not fell trees for our purposes. Humans have already been doing this for so many years that there are hardly any trees left. What people fail to realise is that trees are an essential part of our survival and without them all the transport that we have created is useless. We should focus on what we have started instead of trying to put our legs in two boats at the same time. I feel like the funds used in new technology should be used to recreate our environment so that our future generations can enjoy what we enjoyed as children.

Athulya VM, SS Dempo College of Commerce and Economics, Cujira

The metro project in a city like Mumbai is the need of hour. The Aarey Colony’s forest has grown thick since Independence. Also, it does not come under the Maharashtra Forest Department so the infrastructure development coming up in Aarey Colony must be appreciated. But looking into current climatic instabilities, the cutting of trees in Aarey wouldn’t be appropriate. Rather, the government should make sure that maximum trees are being planted in other places.

Shaunak Prabhu Tendulker, Ponda

Firstly, due to population explosion the current resources are lacking and development is the need of the hour. Secondly, I agree that cutting trees is damaging the environment but we should also keep in mind that trees are also being planted in large numbers, hence minimal cutting of trees won’t do much harm. Coming to the current affairs, I think alternate modes of transport and expansion is also being made considering the current situation and possible consequences we will face if we don’t go proceed with development.

Bhasker Bhandare, IT Engineer/Writer, Margao

We have already invested a lot in development. The alarming rate at which our planet’s population is growing is a matter of concern. With an increase in population, the need for housing and transport is a must. Yes, we need development. But, is this the right manner? Cutting down millions of tress in one area for construction or development and not compensating by planting more in another area is injustice. Instead of cutting greens for new projects, we should find ways to modify the existing transport networks for better functioning. The government must focus on maintaining the existing modes of transport. However, if deforestation is absolutely unavoidable, then, proportionate amount of afforestation must be done elsewhere. Rise in temperature and the unpredictable climate are signs. Our planet is crying for help. We have done a lot of deforestation so far. Mother Nature has given us a lot without expecting any returns. But now, it is high time we care for our planet. It is time we ask for less and give more.

Shwetang Nadkrni, Engineer, Panaji

The government has in no way shown any desire to help with the climate crisis that we and the future generations are facing. Development is necessary to some extent but eco-development is the need of the hour. Keeping in mind the environment and finding ways to protect it along with development is the crucial key in solving climate crisis and co-existing with Earth.

Daphne De Souza, Parra

Mumbai being the high tech city of our nation needs development. And development for the people by protecting nature in the city of dreams and commercial capital will be a task and challenge. If trees are felled, the government should consider planting more trees to balance the effects of development.

Chaitali Karekar, faculty, Agnel Institute of Technology and Design, Assagao

For any expansion one must consider the situation ten years from now. Mumbai is already facing issues of flooding as there is hardly any area which can retain water during the monsoons. Nature plays a very important role, and today one can see an increase in diseases and traffic as well. All we breathe here is dust. For any government policy, government officials must think ‘is it really needed?’ If so, how can it benefit and what about after ten years? As for me, it’s not necessary in any way to cut trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony for modern development. Nature has always inspired me as an artist to paint and also as a human. The condition of Goa right now is very critical and we have to save our land. Government must focus on current issues first and dedicate themselves until they find an absolute solution and implement it.

Siddhi Naik, artist, Colvale