Reconsider nod granted to BMRCL to cut trees, HC tells committee

The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday directed the Special Committee comprising experts to consider afresh all its decisions of granting permission to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) for felling or translocating trees to make space for the ongoing metro project.

The committee was set up by the State government on a direction issued by the court in April 2019 for considering the applications for felling of trees in the city.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi passed the order while noticing that the committee had not examined whether any tree could be saved from cutting before granting permission to the BMRCL for felling or translocating the trees as directed by the court last year. The Bench was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Dattatraya T. Devare and Bangalore Environment Trust.

Members of the committee, the Bench said, were perhaps under the impression that for the metro project it was not necessary to go into the question of whether any of the trees could be saved. The court had in its earlier orders indicated that cutting of trees should be the last option.

While pointing out that primary objective of the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act is to save trees and not to casually allow cutting or translocation of trees, the Bench said the minutes of the committee does not indicate that the committee considered the aspect whether any tree could be saved without affecting the alignment of the metro project. First endeavour of the committee should be to analyse whether work of the metro alignment as per the finalised alignment can be carried out by saving any or some of the trees, the Bench observed.

The BMRCL agreed to the court’s suggestion for reconsideration of the approvals granted and agreed to place all the applications before the committee once again.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 10:15:54 AM |

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