Even as there is a high court stay on cutting trees for the Metro-3 project — from Colaba to SEEPZ, Andheri — the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) tree department has stuck notices on 75 trees to be cut down at the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), near the income-tax office along Mithi River, for the proposed metro station.
Citizen groups have raised the issue of more trees being cut than is necessary for projects. Petitions have been filed at the Bombay high court (HC) to protect the city’s green cover.
According to the proposal to the department by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), which the agency also submitted as an affidavit to the Bombay HC, the BKC station that falls under package 5 of the Metro-III project plan will affect 154 trees — 79 to be transplanted and 75 to be hacked. However, the tree department has not yet given permission to MMRCL for cutting the trees.
HT had reported that the civic tree authority allowed MMRCL to cut 1,074 trees and transplant 1,727 trees, which means a total of 2,811 trees will be affected by the construction of 27 stations for the Metro-3 . On February 24, the HC refused to vacate the stay imposed on cutting trees for the Metro-3 line, acting on two PILs filed by residents.
Officials said the notice was a routine procedure and no decision had been taken yet regarding the felling of trees. “We have just alerted citizens to come forward to file suggestions and objections with the department and notices have been put up for the same. We are aware that some of the trees are very old and the tree authority will be considering all aspects before sending out the final notification,” said Jitendra Pardeshi, superintendent of gardens, BMC.
Environmentalists said there is also a thick mangrove cover near the area and the MMRCL needed a nod from the forest department before going ahead. “Considering the city was inundated in 2005, the project has to be carefully carried out as a large amount of construction debris is likely to be dumped along the Mithi River during construction. If the mangroves are also removed, the chances of flooding will increase,” said Zoru Bhathena, Khar resident and petitioner.
Meanwhile, officials from the state mangrove cell said they were unaware and needed to check whether MMRCL had reached out to them about the matter.