Mumbai

Not stopping construction of Metro shed project in Aarey colony, says Supreme Court

Top view of Aarey Colony as seen from Goregaon East, in Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: Prashant Waydande

The Supreme Court clarified on Monday that status quo was ordered only on the further cutting of trees in the Aarey forest in Mumbai and not on the construction of the metro car shed.

A Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra sought a report from the Mumbai Metro on the number of trees transplanted so far and the saplings sown.

It also sought a plan for maintaining the green cover in the area.

The report was sought even as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta assured the court that status quo would prevail till the next date of hearing on November 15.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, for the Metro, confirmed that no work had been done after the apex court had ordered status quo on October 7. He submitted there were no other buildings planned in the area other than the proposed metro car shed.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, for student activists, contended that the trees which had been transplanted were in poor health.

On October 7, the court had recorded an assurance given by the State of Maharashtra that no more trees would be felled in the forest till the next hearing on October 21.

The apex court had taken suo motu cognisance of a letter written by law student Rishav Ranjan to the Chief Justice of India about the cutting of over 2,600 trees in the Aarey.

The felling of trees was opposed by green activists and local residents. The letter by Mr. Ranjan had said the forest was an unclassified forest and the felling of trees, robbing Mumbai of its green lungs, was illegal.

The Bombay High Court had on October 4 refused to declare the Aarey Colony a forest and declined to quash a Mumbai Municipal decision to permit the cutting of the trees. Restrictions under Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure were imposed in the Aarey area on Saturday.

“The Mumbai authorities continue to kill the lungs of Mumbai i.e Aarey forest by clearing of trees near Mithi river bank and according to news reports 1,500 trees have already been cleared by authorities,” Mr. Ranjan said in his letter.

The forest is located adjacent to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and has five lakh trees.


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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 11:51:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/not-stopping-construction-of-metro-shed-project-in-aarey-colony-says-supreme-court/article29757256.ece

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