Mumbai: Virar,Thane bullet train stations realigned to save mangroves, NHSRCL to HC
The Bombay high court on Tuesday accepted the submission by the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), wherein it was informed, that as per the request of the state and central environment ministries, they have decided to bring down the number of mangroves that needed to be removed for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project. The corporation further informed that though the number of mangroves to be cut in Thane, Mumbai and Palghar districts to make way for the project was more than halved, the undertaking of the compensatory plantation would not be reduced and around 2.6 lakh mangroves would be planted.
A division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni, while hearing the interim application in the writ petition filed by the NHSRCL, was informed by advocate Prahlad Paranjpe that as per the directions of the Maharashtra State Coastal Zone Management (MCZMA) and ministry of environment, forest and climate change, to reduce the number of mangroves to be removed for the bullet train project, the corporation had realigned the Virar and Thane bullet train stations. The directions were issued on March 29, 2019.
Earlier in 2019, the NHSRCL had filed a writ petition in the Bombay HC seeking permission to cut 53,467 mangroves that were present on the 155-km stretch of the 508-km long corridor which passed through the coastal region of Maharashtra. The mangroves that were sought to be cut were situated over a stretch of 21-23 km of coastal land and over which the elevated line would pass.
While making submissions in the application, Paranjpe submitted that following the directions of the authorities the number of mangroves to be removed was brought down to 21,997 which was achieved by realigning the Virar and Thane bullet train stations. Paranjpe further submitted that though the number of mangroves to be cut was brought down the corporation would abide by its previous commitment of afforestation in the ratio of 1:5 and would be planting 2.6 lakh mangroves as a compensatory plantation.
He further submitted that in light of this the NHSRCL wanted to amend the number of mangroves sought to be removed in the petition as well, hence the same should be allowed.
As none of the contesting parties which included the state of Maharashtra, MCZMA and MoEFCC objected, the court allowed the amendment and directed NHSRCL to amend the petition and said that it would hear the petition next Monday.
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