Tree cutting begins for Metro near south Mumbai’s Flora Fountain; petitioner approaches HC

Mumbai city news: On Saturday, resident Ashwin Nagpal spotted contractors axing four trees at a site surrounded by construction barricades.

mumbai Updated: Jun 27, 2017 10:09 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Tree cutting,Metro-3,Colaba metro

The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRC) started cutting trees in Flora Fountain, just two days after the Supreme Court disposed of a resident’s plea to stop the hacking of trees for the Metro-3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) project.

On Saturday, resident Ashwin Nagpal spotted contractors axing four trees at a site surrounded by construction barricades.

READ: SC dismisses plea, tree cutting for Mumbai Metro can resume

The hacking of trees was stopped in February, after the Bombay high court (HC) issued an interim ban acting on a petition by south Mumbai resident Nina Verma. On May 5, the HC vacated this stay, saying a balance needed to be struck between development and preserving the environment.

The resident then took the matter to the SC, which disposed of it and asked her to approach a two-member HC panel with grievances.

READ: Work on Mumbai Metro-3 to start by end of June, depot design revised to ‘minimise tree-cutting’

The petitioner approached the HC on Friday and requested the court to set up the panel. “We have not got a reply from the court yet. But as MMRC has resumed cutting trees, the damage has already begun,” said Verma.

Nagpal, who spotted the felling of trees, said: “While driving down, I saw a tree being felled and asked the contractor why they were doing so. Initially, they said they will stop but after speaking to a few people, they resumed work. They told me to take my grievances to the MMRC.” Nagpal added: “It is still not clear whether tree felling can resume, as the HC committee has not heard the petitioners’ grievances, as directed by the SC. It seems more trees will be felled over the weekend.”

The resident took pictures and a video of the trees being hacked, after the contractor refused to entertain any questions from Nagpal.

MMRC officials said they will do whatever is required to complete the project after the SC order. “The Supreme Court on May 18, 2017 has upheld the Bombay high court order on vacating of cutting of trees. Accordingly, MMRC will proceed with all activities that are essential for implementation of Metro-3 and compliant with the court decisions” said a spokesperson from MMRC.

First Published: May 21, 2017 01:33 IST