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Aarey: Panel for alternative land for car shed set up, Supreme Court told

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Felling of trees is being opposed by green activists and Mumbai residents

Petitioners, who have challenged felling of trees in the Aarey forest in Mumbai to construct a metro car shed, told the Supreme Court on Monday that the “new government” in the State had set up a committee to identify alternative land for the project.

A Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta ordered the status quo, that is, there would be no felling of trees. The Bench scheduled the case for hearing in January next. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the State, said the question in the case is whether the area allotted for the metro car shed is forest land or not.

The court had initially stayed the cutting of trees after a law student Rishav Ranjan, represented by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, moved the apex court alleging that over 2,600 trees had been felled leading to protests.

Even in September, the court had observed it had “seen from the Management Plan for Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali, Mumbai, that some of the areas of the Aarey Milk Colony were transferred to revenue lands from the un-classed forests”. The Aarey forest is located adjacent to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and has five lakh trees.

“However, identity of the area is to be established by the petitioners, though, it was orally stated that the area in question fell in the un-classed forest,” the court had noted then.

The felling is being opposed by green activists and local residents. The letter said Aarey was an unclassified forest and 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 for the metro car shed.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 5:29:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/aarey-panel-for-alternative-land-for-car-shed-set-up-supreme-court-told/article30321487.ece

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