On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court ruled in favour of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in a case filed by Napean Sea Road residents, who had approached the court with an alternative plan for the road-widening that would not have required any trees to be cut.
Environmentalist Bittu Sahgal and resident Chetan Dalal, who filed a writ petition with the HC, said their plan was drawn up by architect Rahul Quadri. It called for reserving two outer lanes of the proposed six-lane road for bus and taxi stands as well as car parks. According to the plan, trees would be retained as cars could be parked around them.
“The court has asked us to go ahead as the alternative plan was not feasible,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner RA Rajeev. The court asked the BMC to preserve or transplant as many trees as possible.
In widening the 1.25-km stretch of road from 40 feet to 90 feet, the BMC planned to transplant 73 trees and retain 88. The court has asked for a list of the 28 trees to be cut to be handed over to the residents.
Despite the court order, Sahgal said they would meet with the BMC and experts to discuss their alternative plan.
The residents’ campaign against the tree-cutting yielded 700 signatures. The residents had also planned a tree-hugging movement to save them from being axed.
Residents alleged that more than 46 trees had simply vanished. The court asked them to file an affidavit on the missing trees. A 2006 BMC plan showed 235 trees on the stretch. The BMC has accounted for 189.