Observing that there is no justifiable reason for opposing felling of trees for various stages of metro project, the High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday permitted the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to go ahead with the felling and translocation of trees as approved by the Technical Expert Committee and continue the afforestation activities as per the norm.
Pointing out that “admittedly the rail project is behind the time schedule”, the court also noted that the activity of afforestation and translocation was carried out under the supervision of tree officer and the activity of afforestation is still going on, and they may not be with the fast pace expected by the petitioner.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B. Varale and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi passed the order while hearing a PIL petition.
The court specifically allowed the BMRCL to execute the permission granted by the tree officer, based on the approval of the TEC, to fell 466 trees, translocation 21 trees, and retain 4 trees on Kempapura to Shettigere stretch on the phase-2B of metro line to Kempegowda International Airport.
Similarly, the Bench allowed the BMRCL to execute the permission granted for felling 114 trees, to translocate 12 trees and to retain 3 trees on Central Silk Board to Kodineesanahalli metro station stretch of Outer Ring Road phase-2A of metro project.
Counsel for petitioners, Dattatreya Devore and Bangalore Environmental Trust, objected to felling trees while alleging that there is inordinate delay in carrying out afforestation activities to compensate removal of trees for the project.
After going through the reports of the TEC on assessment of trees before it considered BMRCL’s applications for removal of trees, the Bench said that it found no justifiable reason for the opposition raised by the petitioners.
The Bench adjourned further hearing on the PIL petition till January 10, 2023 while directing the BMRCL to file status report on the activities on felling, translocation of trees, and afforestation activities.