HC reserves order on plea against felling of trees for Metro car shed

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a plea concerning cutting of thousands of trees in Aarey colony for the Metro car shed.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre was hearing a public interest litigation filed by local resident, Zoru Bhathena (44), challenging an order passed by the Tree Authority of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on August 29, directing removal of over 2,600 trees.

Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for Mr. Bhathena, said the Tree Authority has been set up to preserve the trees of Mumbai and not to illegally sanction their destruction. He said there were around one lakh public objections that came to the authority against its decision, but those were not discussed.

Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, representing the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited, told the court that the Metro project is important for the city. “Every day, 10 people die due to overcrowding in local suburban trains. The Metro project will ease the pressure from the trains.”

Chief Justice Nandrajog said, “Don’t cut so many trees...that our future generations do not know what a tree is... we will have to show them photographs of trees and say see, this is a tree. Or they will see trees painted on the Metro trains.”

Mr. Kumbhakoni also told the court that the company has already started transplanting trees from Aarey at Sanjay Gandhi National Park. To this, Mr. Dwarkadas said there is no objection to transplanting trees, but the company does not take care of them.

The court reserved the order on this petition as well as a petition filed by NGO Vanashakti seeking to protect the floodplain of the Mithi river at Aarey, where construction is prohibited by law.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 5:50:23 PM |

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