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Car shed at Mumbai’s Aarey: Contempt plea against Metro authority for violating court orders

In May this year, NGT had upheld an August 2015 order staying Metro work (debris dumping, land reclamation and tree felling) in the area.

mumbai Updated: Sep 15, 2018 00:45 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
mumbai news,Aarey,Car shed
Trenches have been dug and land levelled using mud for building the Metro car shed in Aarey Milk Colony. Environmentalists claim this is in violation of the Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal stays.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

The Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation Vanashakti moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday, alleging contempt of the NGT and Supreme Court’s (SC) orders by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC).

In May this year, NGT had upheld an August 2015 order staying Metro work (debris dumping, land reclamation and tree felling) in the area. On Friday, Vanashakti submitted a miscellaneous application (MA) to NGT Delhi and submitted images of debris dumping, land reclamation and excavator machines at various locations across Aarey Milk Colony. The contempt petition prayed for stopping all work and levying a penalty on MMRC.

“It is submitted that the acts of MMRC amount to continuing deliberate and wilful contempt of orders…as the work is being carried out inside Aarey Colony even today leading to not only disturbance of status quo as directed by this tribunal, but also causing irreversible damage to the natural forest landscape of Aarey Colony, the only remaining green lung in Mumbai city,” read the MA submitted. “No activity that is being carried out is in contravention of NGT stay,” said a MMRC spokesperson.

Advocate Kiran Bhagalia, counsel for MMRC, said, “As far as the MA is concerned, the three activities stayed by the court are not being carried out by MMRC. We stand by the fact that we have not committed any contempt.”

Meanwhile, environmentalists from Mumbai have filed five police complaints at Aarey police station against MMRC over the past week. Based on the complaints, police officials said they’ve carried out an enquiry.

“MMRC has not violated any court orders as the work being carried out at the site does not include the directions issued by NGT. We have verified this and filed a panchnama. Since the matter is sub judice, the complainants should go to court if they still feel there is a violation,” said Vidhyalaxmi Hiremath, SPI , Aarey Police station.

HT accompanied environmentalists to visit the disputed site on Wednesday and found debris dumping, construction of pillars, and levelling of land underway.

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 00:44 IST