Mumbai Metro-3: Supreme Court seeks reply for green damage inside Aarey Colony
The apex court on Friday issued a notice to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) and the state government in the Mumbai Metro car shed case, which has come upon 33 hectares of land at Aarey Colony in Goregaon. A bench of justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta took cognisance of the environmental damage caused to Aarey Colony by the project and asked the respondents to get back to the court within six weeks. Until then, the work at the car shed will continue.
The petitioners had filed a special leave petition in Supreme Court (SC) against the Bombay high court (HC) order of justices SC Dharmadhikari and PD Naik, in which the HC refused to declare Aarey a forest. “We showed satellite images of the site to show the extent of damage caused at Aarey, and the bench is convinced that there is merit in the case. So the matter would come up for hearing again in January,” said environmental lawyer Zaman Ali, who is representing the petitioners, one of whom is Mumbai resident Amrita Bhattacharjee.
Bhattacharjee has challenged the government’s 2017 notification through which the green patch inside Aarey Colony has been removed from the No Development Zone to allow the construction of the car shed.
The petitioners have been asking the court to direct the government to shift the car shed to Kanjurmarg. “The judiciary is the only hope that we have to save our forest and we are glad that the Supreme Court found merit in the case,” said Stalin Dayanand, project director of the non-governmental organisation, Vanashakti.
However, the spokesperson for MMRCL said that they have not received a copy of the notice.
“MMRC is yet to receive the notice and there is no intimation of the stay. But, once we receive the notice, we will take necessary legal action,” said the MMRCL spokesperson.
In October, the division bench of the HC had upheld the state’s decision to change the use of the land to a metro car shed for the Mumbai Metro 3 line (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ).
Aarey Milk Colony is located in the north-western suburbs of the city and is one of the last natural areas in the city outside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It is one of the few wild forests located within the boundaries of a metropolitan area. Aarey hosts over 70 species of birds, 86 species of butterflies, reptiles and wildflowers.