Trees were cut for Delhi metro too: Environment Minister

Prakash Javadekar./ File photo

Prakash Javadekar./ File photo   | Photo Credit: PTI

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also defended the Bombay High Court order that allowed Mumbai Metro Corporation to fell trees in the Aarey Colony.

Amid strong opposition from green activists, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday cited a Bombay High Court order to defend the Mumbai Metro Corporation’s move to fell trees in Aarey Colony, saying it was “not a forest“.

“Basically the high court has decided and ruled yesterday that it is not a forest,” Mr. Javadekar told reporters here. “You can’t fell anything that is forest.”

The Union minister’s comments came after the Mumbai Metro Corporation began cutting trees in Aarey Colony, a major green lung of the metropolis, for a proposed car shed.

Environment activists have put up a stiff resistance to the move, but police on Saturday imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in the area, banning unlawful assembly and arrested 29 people in connection with the protests.

Drawing a parallel, the Union minister said trees had to be cut for Delhi Metro also and it was opposed by activists even then.

Terming the Delhi Metro the best of its kind in the world, he said there was a need to cut 20 to 25 trees to set up the first metro station in Delhi and people had similarly opposed it.

“But for each tree cut, five saplings were planted. All have become trees in 15 years,” he said.

“Delhi’s jungle cover has increased and public transport for 30 lakh people was arranged. This is the mantra of ‘vikas bhi, paryavaran ki suraksha bhi’ (sustainable development),” he said.

When asked about the Shiv Sena, an alliance partner of the ruling BJP in Maharashtra, opposing the felling of trees in Aarey, Mr. Javadekar did not give a clear answer.

On Friday, the Bombay High Court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and environment activists challenging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Tree Authority’s decision to allow cutting of the trees in Aarey Colony.

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Printable version | Mar 26, 2020 7:52:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/trees-were-cut-for-delhi-metro-too-environment-minister/article29604327.ece

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