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Aarey Colony, an urban woodland in Mumbai, is facing development pressure in the form of a controversial transit line. 

Aarey Colony, an urban woodland in Mumbai, is facing development pressure in the form of a controversial transit line. 

Photo: Justin Nisly/Bloomberg CityLab

A New Metro Brings Controversy to Mumbai’s ‘Green Lung’

Protesters are battling a transit plan that will cut thousands of trees and displace hundreds of residents from the Indian megacity’s only woodland.  

Shouts of “Azadi” — Hindi for freedom — keep time with the rhythmic beating of drums as protesters gather in a densely wooded area in Mumbai.

Since July, crowds ranging in size from dozens to hundreds have been congregating for these weekly Sunday demonstrations. At issue: a metro train car shed set to rise on undeveloped land in Aarey Colony, a lush pocket of urban wilderness that environmentalists consider the last “green lung” in the Indian megacity.