Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) on Wednesday told the Bombay High Court that it would not cut any trees inside Aarey Colony without permissions, according to DNA. The Bombay High Court had earlier directed MMRCL to file an affidavit stating that it was cutting only those trees at the suburban Aarey Colony for which it has permission.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice NH Patil and Justice GS Kulkarni was hearing a petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Preeti Menon and Ruben Mascarenhas against the MMRCL's 'indiscriminate' felling of trees inside the Aarey Colony to pave way for a metro car shed.
Advocate Kiran Bagaria, appearing for MMRCL, told the court that only those trees are being cut for which permissions have already been sought. "We will not cut any tree without taking prior permission from the concerned authorities," said Bagaria.
The bench directed MMRCL to file an affidavit in two weeks stating so and also submit a schedule of work it plans to undertake in Aarey colony for construction of the Metro car shed. The court, however, refused to pass an order granting an interim relief to the petitioners by staying the cutting of trees pending hearing of the plea. In the petition, Menon claimed that she learnt about trees being felled on the Aarey Marol Road on 29 September.
"It was seen that more than 100 huge trees were cut and many more were being surveyed. It is the estimation of the petitioner that almost 400 or more full-grown trees are slated for chopping," the petition said. It claimed that MMRCL's act was reckless and was causing permanent damage to the environment.
A public hearing of the objections regarding the building of the metro shed is to be held on 10 October by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) after they put out a public notice for removing 2,700 trees, reported The Hindu. Following a proposal by the MMRCL, BMC has invited objections to cut 2,238 trees and transplant 464.
On 20 September, National Green Tribunal (NGT) had reversed the 2015 order of the NGT's Pune bench ordering a status quo in Aarey Colony, reported Hindustan Times. The 2015 order, which was upheld on 14 May as well, had stayed felling of trees, as well as leveling and dumping at the metro car shed site. The NGT Mumbai bench, however, had on 20 September asked the NGO Vanashakti, which had filed the original petition to withdraw the plea, saying the NGT does not have the jurisdiction to declare an area as a forest.
On 2 October, members of AAP, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and residents of Goregaon protested against the rampant tree cutting in the colony, calling the agitation Aarey Satyagraha, reported Free Press Journal.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Oct 04, 2018 13:57:31 IST