HC gives nod to cut 357 mangrove trees for Metro 4 work

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to cut 357 mangrove trees as part of the Metro 4 work.

The court said, “We are convinced beyond any doubt that the construction of Metro 4 is a project of immense importance from the point of view of public transport.”

A Division Bench of Justices S.J. Kathawalla and R.I. Chagla was hearing a petition filed by the MMRDA seeking permission to go ahead with the construction of Metro 4, which will connect areas such as Wadala, Ghatkopar, Mulund, Thane and Kasarwadawali.

However, 48 piers of the 1.2 km alignment at the proposed Bhakti Park station, and 0.1236 hectares of a temporary approach road fall under the Coastal Regulation Zone II area. The alignment would serve as an interchange for the Bhakti Park Monorail station and connect the Metro to Mumbai Central.

The MMRDA had sent an online application to the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority seeking permission to axe 357 mangrove trees for the construction of the Metro piers and the approach road to Bhakti Park station.

On March 11 this year, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in a letter to the Secretary (Forest), Maharashtra, granted “in-principle” sanction under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, for the diversion of 0.985 hectares of reserved forest land in favour of the MMRDA, subject to conditions.

In turn, the MMRDA has agreed to bear the cost of afforestation of 0.12 hectares of mangrove forest land, and plant 4,444 mangrove saplings. The court said this would amount to planting 10 times more mangrove saplings than the number of trees that will be destroyed during the construction.

The court recorded, “This is a public utility project, which will improve transport, reduce air pollution and provide the safest mode of transportation to society. The said proposal was recommended by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for necessary approval.”

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 5:15:26 AM |

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