Bombay HC refuses to declare Mumbai’s Aarey Colony a forest, dismisses petitions against felling of 2,700 trees

  • In a win for the BJP government in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed all petitions against the cutting of 2,700 trees for the metro car shed and refused to declare Mumbai's Aarey Colony as a forest area,

  • Activists had been opposing the proposed felling of 2,700 trees in Aarey to make way for the metro car shed and demanding relocation of the depot, which is part of the Metro III project

  • The metro shed project, claim activists, is likely to rob Mumbai of its unique biodiversity, and one of its last frontiers against flooding

In a win for the BJP government in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed all petitions against the cutting of 2,700 trees for the metro car shed and refused to declare Mumbai's Aarey Colony as a forest area, reports CNN-New18.

A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and environment activists related to Aarey Colony in Goregaon, a major green lung of the metropolis.

The division bench dismissed a plea by the city-based NGO Vanshakti to declare Aarey Colony a forest area. "The issue is pending before the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal. Hence, we are dismissing the petition on the principle of commonality and not on merits," the court said.

It also dismissed a petition filed by activist Zoru Bathena seeking that Aarey be declared a floodplain and challenging the civic body's approval to Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd to cut 2,656 trees in Aarey Colony to set up a car shed.

The bench imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav, who had filed a plea against the approval granted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's tree authority. Jadhav is a member of the tree authority.

Activists had been opposing the proposed felling of 2,700 trees in Aarey to make way for the metro car shed and demanding relocation of the depot, which is part of the Metro III project.

 Bombay HC refuses to declare Mumbai’s Aarey Colony a forest, dismisses petitions against felling of 2,700 trees

Aerial view of Aarey Colony. Twitter @SaveAarey

Ever since the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s Tree Authority in August gave its approval on felling around 2,700 trees in what experts say is a forested area, the ‘Save Aarey’ movement has picked up the pace with people from all over the city coming together for peaceful protests and demonstrations against the proposal. The metro shed project, claim activists, is likely to rob Mumbai of its unique biodiversity, and one of its last frontiers against flooding.

Environmental activist Zoru Bathen approached the Bombay High Court on Tuesday against the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) approval for felling and transplanting over 2,600 trees in and from the Aarey area in the metropolis. In his petition said the decision of the BMC's Tree Authority, taken on 29 August this year, approving the felling of trees to make way for a metro car shed was not in accordance with a previous order of the high court.

On 20 September, the Maharashtra government had told the court that Aarey cannot be declared a forest just because of its greenery.

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited had argued in court that the project was of paramount importance for the city. "Every day 10 persons die due to overcrowding in local suburban trains. The Metro project will ease the pressure from the trains," MMRCL counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni had said.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Oct 04, 2019 12:14:52 IST