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Car shed construction: Mumbai metro authority seeks transfer of case to NGT’s Delhi bench

In 2015, two NGOs filed a petition with the NGT seeking that Aarey be considered a forest in response to metro authority ‘s decision to construct a car-shed in the area.

mumbai Updated: Jan 22, 2018 00:37 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
mumbai,national green tribunal,delhi
NGT Delhi has listed the matter on February 1, and the petitioners can seek the transfer back to the western bench.(File pic for representation)

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) has sought the transfer of the case of Metro 3 car-shed construction in Aarey from the divisional bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in Pune to its principal bench in Delhi.

In June 2015, NGOs Vanashakti and Aarey Conservation Group filed a petition with the NGT seeking that Aarey be considered a forest. This was in response to MMRCL’s decision to construct a car-shed in the area.

The MMRCL confirmed that they sought the transfer. “Since a substantial part of the hearing is already completed, the respondents including MMRCL and the state government have requested for the continuation of the hearing before the same bench in Delhi for the sake of convenience,” said a spokesperson from MMRCL.

The principal bench issued an order on January 12 to applicants, which was received on Saturday and made public by Vanashakti on Sunday. “Proceedings before the western bench of NGT are stayed until further orders,” read the order passed by Justice UD Salvi and expert member Nagin Nanda.

NGT Delhi has listed the matter on February 1, and the petitioners can seek the transfer back to the western bench.

Stalin D, director, NGO Vanshakti, said, “We [petitioners] cannot afford proceedings in Delhi. The cost of travelling will be at least Rs50,000 for each visit, excluding the lawyers’ fees, compared to the Rs5,000 which was being spent in Pune. We will tell NGT Delhi the same.”

“MMRCL has public money to squander but we don’t have it. This is a cheap tactic employed to harass the applicants. In any case, MMRCL has already damaged the plot and is working with scant respect to the petition in NGT,” he added,

He said the permissions to start work at Aarey has still not been granted to MMRCL. “When MMRCL is still awaiting approval of temporary work on the 3-hectare plot for a casting yard, where is the question of them getting the approval to destroy 30 hectares? The 3-hectare plot was given to them on a conditional basis but the civic body’s tree authority has not given any permission yet and the matter is before NGT,” said Stalin.

“MMRCL reiterates that there has never been a stay or restraining order against MMRCL issued by the NGT and it is not there in existence even today. The depot work has already started at Aarey,” said MMRCL’s spokesperson.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 00:31 IST