Important That We All Thrive To Make Mother Earth A Green Planet: Calcutta HC Asks State Authorities To Simultaneously Plant 5 Trees For Every Tree Cut For ROB Construction [Read Judgment]
‘We should leave behind for posterity not only a world which is economically developed with necessary infrastructure but also a world where the future generations can breathe fresh air and live a healthy life’
The first bench of Calcutta High Court has allowed cutting down of 356 trees for the construction of railway over bridges (ROBs), but with a condition that the authorities shall carry out simultaneous compensatory plantation of at least five trees for every tree felled.
A bench of Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya and Justice Arijit Banerjee also said that the trees of same genre has to be planted in the same plot or in a plot as near to the plot as possible where the trees will be felled.
The high court was considering public interest litigations filed by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights and Arpita Saha against proposed cutting down of trees for construction of over bridges. It was alleged that the state authorities have flouted provisions of the West Bengal Trees (Protection and Conservation in Non-Forest Areas) Act, 2006.
Although the bench observed that the state cannot be said to be a developer within the meaning of Section 9 of the Act, Section 8 which imposes plantation of two trees for every tree felled, would apply to it. The bench also recorded the submission of Advocate-General that least five trees will be planted for every tree felled.
The court also observed that felling of 356 trees which is essential for implementing an important public project shall not cause such environmental degradation or deterioration that the public project must be stopped. “It cannot possibly be disputed that preservation of trees is essential for survival of life in our planet. Indiscriminate felling of trees would destroy the ecological balance which is likely to ultimately lead to the destruction of life in this world. There is voluminous literature pertaining to the importance of preservation of trees and scientists have advanced compelling theories to the effect that random destruction of trees would be fatal to all kinds of living creatures in our mother world. One need not be an expert in the science of ecology to realise this. Trees are essential for ensuring a clean environment in our planet,” the bench added.
The court finally held that felling of the 356 trees is necessary for implementing the important public project of constructing the five ROBs and the state authorities will be entitled to do so. “However, this will be restricted only to the 356 trees and no other tree. Simultaneously, the State respondents shall carry out compensatory plantation of at least five trees for every tree felled in the same plot or in a plot as near to the plot as possible where the trees will be felled. New plantation will be of same genre of trees that will be felled,” the court added.
The bench further observed: “We trust and believe that the State respondents will act with due responsibility in the matter since it is important that we all thrive to make mother Earth a green planet. We should leave behind for posterity not only a world which is economically developed with necessary infrastructure but also a world where the future generations can breathe fresh air and live a healthy life.”Read the Judgment Here