HC restrains MMRDA from felling 23 trees in Thane, till 115 saplings plantedUpdated: Jul 03, 2020 22:47 IST
The Bombay high court has restrained the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) from felling 23 trees for the Airoli to Katai Naka freeway unless it plants 115 saplings as per the report of the Tree Authority, Thane. MMRDA informed the court that it had complied with the compulsory compensatory plantation of trees and hence should be permitted to fell the trees. However, the court said that as the TA had recommended plantation of 115 additional saplings and identified the spot for the same, MMRDA would be able to carry out the felling only after planting the 115 saplings.
A bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice N J Jamadar while hearing an interim application filed by the MMRDA in public interest litigation filed by tree activist Rohit Joshi was informed by advocate Saket Mone along with advocate Subit Chakrabarty appearing for MMRDA that on June 12, 2020, the HC had permitted MMRDA to transplant 69 trees and fell 23 trees for the freeway.
The bench had directed the MMRDA to do the transplantation under the supervision of the Tree Authority, Thane. The site supervision was undertaken by all stakeholders including the petitioner and on June 26, 2020, the TA submitted a report to the HC expressing satisfaction on the proposed site for transplantation and compensatory plantation. It also submitted that the MMRDA has to plant 115 saplings for the 23 trees they proposed to fell apart from the 69 trees that were to be transplanted.
On Friday, when MMRDA submitted that it had completed the compensatory plantation and should be permitted to fell 23 trees, the bench referred to the TA report and directed that even if MMRDA had already planted saplings they would have to plant additional 115 saplings in the identified site and only then would they be permitted to fell the 23 trees.