MoEF cleared plan to cut 53,467 mangrove trees, Bombay high court told

Updated on Apr 09, 2019 08:14 AM IST

In all, 32.43 hectares of mangrove forest area in Mumbai and Thane needs to used for India’s first high-speed rail project, a letter from MCZMA to the director, Coastal Regulation Zone, MoEF, said. The letter said 53,467 mangrove trees spread over 13.36 hectares will have to be cut for this.

On March 7, the MCZMA recommended the proposal to cut 53,467 trees to the Centre for a final approval.(Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)
On March 7, the MCZMA recommended the proposal to cut 53,467 trees to the Centre for a final approval.(Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)
Hindustan Times, Mumbai | By

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) has cleared a proposal to cut 53,467 mangrove trees in the Thane, Navi Mumbai and Palghar districts to make way for the Mumbai - Ahmedabad bullet train project, the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) told the Bombay high court (HC) on Monday.

With this, NHSRCL, which is executing the project, has all necessary permissions to build the 1.08 lakh-crore bullet train, which seeks to reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Ahmedabad from 6.5 hours to 2.5 hours.

In March, the HC directed NHSRCL to get permissions from all the agencies and ministries involved.

The firm approached HC after the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), in December 22, 2018, turned down its plan to cut the trees saying it required the high court’s permission.

On March 7, the MCZMA recommended the proposal to cut 53,467 trees to the Centre for a final approval.

The court then asked NHSRCL to get the environment ministry’s nod.

In all, 32.43 hectares of mangrove forest area in Mumbai and Thane needs to used for India’s first high-speed rail project, a letter from MCZMA to the director, Coastal Regulation Zone, MoEF, said. The letter said 53,467 mangrove trees spread over 13.36 hectares will have to be cut for this.

In NHSRCL’s petition to the HC, it said that of the 508-km corridor, 155.642km was in Maharashtra. This would affect 131.30 hectares of forest, including mangroves spread over 32.43 hectares. Of the 32.43km passing through CRZ areas in Maharashtra, 8.39km is underground. Only 53,467 mangroves spread over 13.36 hectares would be actually affected by the project, it said.

At an earlier hearing, the firm’s lawyer told the HC that NHSRCL was willing to plant five times the number of mangrove trees that will be affected by the high-speed rail corridor, as against the statutory requirement of thrice the number of trees.

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