No stay on Aarey Metro work, bar on tree cutting
The Supreme Court on Monday clarified that the construction of a Metro car shed in Aarey Milk Colony can continue, but asked the Mumbai civic body to not cut any more trees for the work till further orders.
Aarey, one of Mumbai’s few green belts, has been at the centre of a row over the possible ecological damage because of the construction by the Mumbai Metro.
A special bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta also asked the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation to submit a status report with pictures on plantation, transplantation and felling of trees in Aarey, which falls in the jurisdiction of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
Solicitor general Tushar Meha, appearing for the BMC, promised that no tree has been cut after the October 7 top court order to maintain status quo in Aarey Colony. The bench extended the stay order till November 15 when it will hear the matter again. Advocate
Mukul Rohatgi, representing the state government, also submitted that no trees were cut after the status quo order was passed.
The special bench to hear the Aarey matter was constituted after a delegation of law students addressed a letter to the C JI Ranjan Gogoi, seeking court’s intervention to stop the felling of trees. The Bombay HC had on October 4 refused to declare Aarey Colony a forest, and declined to quash the civic body’s decision to allow felling of over 2,600 trees in the green zone to set up a Metro car shed. Hours after the order, the Mumbai Metro corporation started felling trees. Activists had tried to stop them. Police detained around 50 of them and the area was cordoned off.
“Mumbai Metro (BMRC) to produce the photographs of the trees and number of surviving trees which were planted two years ago, the girth of the trees as well as their height. The same shall be produced before the court by way of an affidavit...the survival rate of the transplanted trees and how many have survived till date. Let the figures be stated,” the SC said in its order.