The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority can construct a bridge over a creek to connect the east and west of Naigaon, but only if it plants 4,000 mangrove trees, the Bombay high court said on Wednesday.
The decision of the division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and justice Girish Kulkarni is based on the the condition laid down by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), which had cleared the bridge in November 2012, provided the MMRDA plants 10 times the number of trees that are likely to be destroyed.
Chief Justice Shah and justice Kulkarni allowed the MMRDA to go ahead with the construction of the bridge, but only if it will plant 4,000 mangrove trees, as 400 existing trees are likely to be destroyed. The bench also told MMRDA to furnish a compliance report to MCZMA.
The MMRDA had approached the high court, in view of directives issued by it to protect mangroves – that all planning authorities in the Mumbai metropolitan region will have to maintain a buffer zone of 50m surrounding mangroves, where no development should take place.
The MMRDA had contended both sides of Naigaon were congested and a bridge would not only connect the sides, but also help reduce traffic congestion. The bridge will bring down the travel distance between the east and the west by 12km.