Allow us to cut 5,099 trees for Andheri-Colaba Mumbai Metro line before rains, MMRC tells HC
Acting on two pleas challenging the propsoed cutting of 5099 trees, the court had on February 9 stopped all authorities from cutting any tree for the 33-km underground line until further orders.mumbai Updated: May 04, 2017 08:51 IST
Once again on Wednesday, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) asked the Bombay high court to allow it to cut trees for the Metro-3 corridor, between Andheri and Colaba.
Acting on two pleas challenging the propsoed cutting of 5099 trees, the court had on February 9 stopped all authorities from cutting any tree for the 33-km underground line until further orders.
On Wednesday, MMRC urged the court to vacate the order, with the monsoon around the corner.
“It will cause us tremendous hardship if the stay is not vacated before the monsoon,” said senior advocate Aspi Chinoy, who represented MMRC.
The court has reserved its order on MMRC’s plea and is likely to give its decision by the end of this week. Chinoy requested the court to vacate the stay, saying the MMRC had already given an undertaking to replace every tree it is likely to uproot — if possible at the same place, but definitely within the same locality. Chinoy said MMRC would look after the replanted trees for three years and ensure every tree survived.
The court is hearing two pleas filed by Meena Verma and Pervin Jehangir.
Verma approached the court raising concern about destruction of green cover in Churchgate, Colaba and Cuffe Parade; Jehangir raised questions about the use of public land for the Metro-3 line.
Verma’s counsel, senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, and Jehangir’s counsel, Robin Jaisinghani, opposed MMRC’s plea to vacate the stay, saying MMRC did not have environmental clearances, only CRZ clearances.
They said many of the 27 stations fall under different coastal regulatory zones for which both clearances were needed. “Nobody can say the issue of cutting 5,099 trees for one project is not an environmental issue,” said Jaisinghani.
Chinoy said an environment ministry letter said metro projects do not fall under 2006 Environment Impact Assessment. As for CRZ clearances, he said 9 of the 27 stations fall in different coastal zones and permissions have been obtained.