HC refuses to vacate stay on tree cutting for Metro-3
More than 5,000 trees are slated to be cut or removed for the line connecting SEEPZ in Andheri (East) and Colaba
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday refused to vacate the stay imposed on cutting trees for the purpose of Metro-3 line. More than 5,000 trees are slated to be cut or removed for the line connecting SEEPZ in Andheri (East) and Colaba.
Acting on two PILs on February 9, the division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and justice Girish Kulkarni restrained all authorities from cutting any tree.
On Friday, counsel for Mumbai Metro Railway Corporation Limited (MMRCL), advocate Kiran Bagalia, filed an affidavit in reply to the PILs and requested the court to consider vacating the interim stay. She submitted that some damage to the environment is bound to take place whenever there is a developmental project and added the alignment has been decided after studying various factors in detail for more than six years with an endeavour to keep environmental damage to the minimum.
Bagalia said work on the project has been held up and urged the court to consider vacating the stay on cutting trees. The bench, however, refused saying it will require some time to study the affidavits filed by the MMRCL as also the one filed by BMC tree officer detailing how the Tree Authority has complied with provisions of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975.
The PILs have been filed by two people, Mina Verma and Pravin Jehangir. While Verma approached the court raising concern about destruction of green cover from Churchgate, Colaba and Cuffe Parade, Jehangir raised questions about the use of public lands for construction of the entire Metro-3 line.
Jehangir contended that a special purpose vehicle created by the MMRDA for the purpose of constructing the Metro line cannot exercise powers conferred upon railways to use any public lands for their purposes, and the Metro Railway Act requires the contractor to acquire specific rights even for using public lands temporarily.