Tree cutting begins at Aarey as HC turns down activists’ pleas
On Friday morning, the Bombay high court dismissed four petitions challenging the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) tree authority permitting the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) to cut 2,646 trees to construct a metro car-shed in Aarey colony.Updated: Oct 06, 2019, 00:26 IST
The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation employees started cutting trees at Aarey Colony late on Friday night at the proposed car shed spot, following the Bombay high court order on earlier in the morning.
Environment activists reached the spot soon after a video shot in the dark was sent on various social media platforms.
On Friday morning, the Bombay high court dismissed four petitions challenging the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) tree authority permitting the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) to cut 2,646 trees to construct a metro car-shed in Aarey colony.
A division bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Bharati Dangre dismissed petitions filed by activist Zoru Bhathena and Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav, who is also a member of the tree authority.
Bhathena had questioned the validity of the decision on the grounds of lack of due deliberations on the proposal submitted by MMRCL, seeking the removal of 2,702 trees — 2,238 to be cut and 464 to be transplanted.
The bench rejected the contention and said: “The fact that the proposal of the project proponent (MMRCL) was scaled down with respect to the number of trees to be felled is proof of the decision being fair, transparent and based on reason.” The bench said that the deliberations took place not only at its meeting on August 29, but also during three site visits to Aarey Colony.
One of the pleas filed by the city-based NGO Vanshakti sought that the Aarey colony be declared a forest and ecologically sensitive zone, while another petition by Bathena pleaded the area be given the status of a floodplain. Two separate pleas were filed by Bathena and Jadhav.
While dismissing the petition filed by Vanshakti, the court in its judgment noted that the issue was already decided by an earlier bench of the high court and the matter is presently pending before the Supreme Court.