The division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice GS Kulkarni restrained the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority(MMRDA) and BMC(Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) from cutting trees for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro line project, also known as Line 3.
The approximate number of trees proposed to be cut down for this metro Line 3 is 5000. The bench is hearing a couple of petitions wherein the larger issue raised is that of “indiscriminate cutting of trees without applying mind to the provisions of The Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975.”
Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas appeared for one of the petitioners in the matter, he submitted that the Tree Officer who is authorized to grant permission for cutting trees is not applying the norms or precaution to be taken before granting permission for cutting a particular tree.
Dwarkadas also informed the bench that the list containing details of the trees to be removed has been manipulated in order to ensure the permission is granted.
The bench observed – “In view of the matter, prima facie we see that there has to be a serious concern regarding the latest problem placed before us since the trees approximately to be cut for Metro Line 3 seem to be more than 5000.”
One of the petitioner’s submitted photographs of almost a hundred trees that had already been cut for the said project. Court then observed-
“The authorities need to look at how to save the trees. What are the safety measures that can be taken, can the trees be planted elsewhere? Minimum damage needs to be done to the environment”
Court also expressed the desire to create an independent committee to oversee the removal of trees. Both MMRDA and BMC sought time to file a reply in this matter. Time has been granted till tomorrow. In the meantime, no more trees will be cut until further orders.
Read the order here.
This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.