26 Jun 2023 5:40 AM GMT
The Madras High Court recently directed the authorities to abide by the orders of the District Green Committee on felling and transplantation of trees for the expansion of the Chennai Egmore Railway Station.The division bench of Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice PD Audikesavalu noted that the District Green Committee, headed by the District Collector has granted permission for felling...
The Madras High Court recently directed the authorities to abide by the orders of the District Green Committee on felling and transplantation of trees for the expansion of the Chennai Egmore Railway Station.
The division bench of Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice PD Audikesavalu noted that the District Green Committee, headed by the District Collector has granted permission for felling of 182 trees, transplantation of 103 trees and pruning of 33 trees, totalling 318 trees.
The court noted that the committee had also observed that some trees were transplanted to Queen Mary’s College without getting prior approval and the contractor was directed to plant saplings in a ratio of 1:12 for each tree.
The court said that though it does not doubt the bonafide of the authorities, it was necessary to follow the orders of the District Green Committee. The court also directed the authorities to report compliance with the committee and asked the latter to verify the same.
“We may today not doubt about the bonafides of the respondents also as the transplantation and felling of trees is necessitated for the expansion of the Chennai Egmore railway station. However, it also needs to be considered that the respondents cannot travel beyond the order passed by the District Green Committee. The respondents shall report to the District Green Committee about the compliance, that is transplantation of 103 trees, the saplings being planted so as to compensate for the felling of trees. The District Green Committee shall verify the same,” the court directed.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation, a non-governmental organisation working for the preservation of the environment and ecological sustainable development. It was submitted that more than 400 trees have to be cut for expansion of the railway station which included 50-80-year-old trees.
Additional Solicitor General and the Additional Advocate General submitted that process was being undertaken after following due procedure and obtaining permission from the District Green Committee. It was submitted that 103 trees are to be transplanted and 182 trees are to be cut and for each tree being cut, 12 saplings are to be planted.
“We, for a moment, do not doubt the intention of the petitioner. The trees are being cut or transplanted for the expansion of Chennai Egmore railway station. Balance has to be struck between sustainable development on one hand and ecology and environment on the other. The safeguards have been provided, pursuant thereto the District Green Committee, Chennai has been constituted”, the court said while disposing of the petition.
Case Title: Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation v. The State and others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 174
Counsel for the Petitioner: Mr.K.Balu
Counsel for the Respondents: Mr.J.Ravindran Additional Advocate-General, Assisted by Dr.T.Seenivasan Spl. Govt. Pleader (Forest), Mr.P.Muthukumar State Government Pleader, Assisted by Mrs.R.Anitha Special Government Pleader, Mr.AR.L.Sundaresan Addl. Solicitor General Assisted by Mr.K.Srinivasamoorthy Central Government Standing Counsel