Aarey Colony metro car-shed: Cases against protesters to be dropped in a month

Cases against people who had protested against the felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony for a metro rail car-shed will be dropped in a month, the government has said

The cases filed against Aarey metro car shed protesters will be withdrawn within a month, Maharashtra minister Satej Patil said, on February 27, 2020. Patil, the minister of state for home, made the remarks after meeting some of the protesters. There is a due process to withdraw the cases. I spoke to them (the protesters) on the issue. The Mumbai Police had filed cases against several protesters, including green activists, in October 2019, after they hit the streets to oppose felling of trees in the Aarey Colony, a green belt in suburban Goregaon, to make way for a car shed which is part of the Metro-3 project.

 


Maharashtra government has not stayed any project except Aarey car-shed: Sena minister

Amid the opposition’s criticism, the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government has clarified that except for the Aarey Colony metro rail car-shed, no other project had been stalled in the state

December 20, 2019: Amid the opposition BJP’s criticism that the Uddhav Thackeray-led government was busy staying the previous dispensation’s decisions, Shiv Sena minister Subhash Desai, on December 19, 2019, said that except for the metro rail car-shed in Aarey Colony, no other project had been stalled in Maharashtra. Speaking in the legislative council, Desai, who handles the Industries, Higher and Technical Education portfolios, in the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government said, “Works on about 14 to 15 metro routes are underway and the chief minister has not given a stay on even a single Metro project. Only the metro car-shed work has been stayed and the reason for it is known to all – because 2,700 trees were killed during the night. On the contrary, the government has expedited development projects like Mumbai Metro and Mumbai-Nagpur Samruddhi Expressway. The government has not stayed the Trans-Harbour Link or Coastal Road projects in Mumbai. The Bombay High Court had put a stay on the Coastal Road project but yesterday the Supreme Court lifted the stay. That project is important for Mumbai and will start soon.” He added that a ‘big campaign’ would also be undertaken, with the help of technology and experts, to assess the impact of global warming in the state, especially on farmers.

 


Aarey Colony metro car-shed: SC extends interim order banning tree felling

The Supreme Court has extended its interim stay on the felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony area, till it hears the case again in January 2020

December 17, 2019: The Supreme Court, on December 16, 2019, extended its interim order that had stayed the felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony area, for the setting up of a metro car-shed. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta, which said it would hear the matter in January 2020, said the October 7, 2019 interim order, would continue in the meantime.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for one of the petitioners, told the bench that the new government in Maharashtra has said it was looking for an alternative place to set up the metro car-shed. The bench, however, said, “We are not to be guided by these things.” Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said the state government has to file a reply on whether the Aarey Colony was a forest land or not. “You take instructions and place it on record,” the bench said.

 


Aarey Colony metro car-shed: Government forms panel to identify alternative land

The Maharashtra government has set up a committee, to identify alternative land for the metro rail car-shed, whose construction in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony was stayed by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray

December 12, 2019: The Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra government, on December 11, 2019, announced the setting-up of a four-member panel, to be headed by additional chief secretary (finance), to identify an alternative land for the metro car-shed that was supposed to come up at the Aarey Colony. The mandate of the committee is to identify alternative land, if any, for the metro car depot at ‘affordable’ rate, said a state government order (GO). “The committee will also probe if proper procedure was followed, to cut down 2100 trees at the land at Aarey Colony in October. It will also propose steps for the protection of environment at the Colony,” the GO stated.

The committee will table its recommendations to the state government within 15 days. Other members of the panel include principle secretary (environment), managing director of Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) and chief conservator of forests, Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).

 


Aarey Colony metro car-shed: CM Thackeray stays construction work

Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced a stay on the construction of the metro car-shed in Aarey Colony

December 2, 2019: Newly sworn-in Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, on November 29, 2019, ordered a stay on the construction work of the metro car-shed in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony area, where strong protests had erupted against the cutting of trees for the work. “I have stayed Aarey car-shed work. I will review the entire thing. I will not allow a culture where trees are cut at night,” Thackeray said. “Not a single tree leaf will be cut till further orders,” he added, while clarifying that the metro work itself has not been stayed.

Then earlier BJP-led government in Maharashtra had come under fire from green activists in October 2019, when over 2,000 trees were felled for the car-shed, to be constructed in Aarey Colony which is adjacent to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. Reacting to Thackeray’s announcement, his predecessor Devendra Fadnavis said, “Decisions as the one taken by Thackeray, will demotivate investors and all infrastructure projects will get stalled, which were already delayed for so long.”

 See also: Maharashtra government to review Bullet Train project: Uddhav Thackeray

Cases against Aarey activists to be withdrawn

On December 1, 2019, Thackeray also announced that the cases registered against green activists, who tried to stop the felling of trees in Aarey Colony, will be withdrawn. Cases were registered after clashes broke out between the police and green activists, opposing the axing of trees by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL). The police had booked at least 38 protesters under IPC sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty) and 143 (unlawful assembly).

 


India and Germany to collaborate on Mumbai Metro project

India and Germany will collaborate on the Mumbai Metro and solar energy projects, as part of a bilateral cooperation in energy and urban development sectors, a senior official of Germany’s Ministry of Economic Cooperation has said

November 28, 2019: The director-general (bilateral cooperation) of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Claudia Warning, on November 27, 2019, said that 25 concrete projects related to energy cooperation and urban development would be carried out between Germany and India. “We decided on concrete 25 projects in concrete areas, where we would like to work together for the next 3-5 years. One example is that we will be taking part in the Mumbai Metro. So, we are going to finance this. We are also going to finance solar water plants for agriculture centres. We are going to finance a soil knowledge centre which is very important for small scale farmers,” she added. “Germany has pledged an amount of 1.6 billion euros for projects in energy and energy efficiency and in natural resource management as well as in urban development and urban re-motorisation,” she said.

 


Aarey Colony metro car-shed: SC extends ban on felling trees

The Supreme Court has extended its ban on felling of trees in the Aarey Colony area of Mumbai, for setting up of a metro rail car-shed, till the date of the next hearing in December 2019

November 18, 2019: The Supreme Court, on November 15, 2019, extended the interim order by which it had stayed further cutting of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, for setting up a metro car-shed. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said it will hear the matter at length in December, 2019. On October 21, 2109, the top court had clarified that there was no stay on the construction of the Mumbai Metro car-shed at Aarey Colony but the status quo order was only applicable on felling of trees there.

The SC had asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to submit a report on the number of trees cut, afforestation and transplantation being carried out, in lieu of felling of trees at Mumbai’s prominent green lung. Mumbai Metro had claimed that they had transplanted over 5,000 trees and assured the court that absolute status quo was being maintained, with regard to felling of trees in the area.

 


Aarey Colony: SC refuses to stop construction of metro car-shed

The Supreme Court, while seeking a status report on the felling and plantation of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony area, has, however, refused to stop the construction of the metro car-shed

October 21, 2019: The Supreme Court, on October 21, 2019, said it is not stopping the construction of the metro rail car-shed project in Mumbai’s prominent green lung, Aarey Colony. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta sought a status report, with pictures, on plantation, transplantation and felling of trees in Aarey Colony area, from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the civic body, assured the bench that no further tree felling was being done in Aarey Colony and complete status quo was being maintained, following apex court’s last order. The top court posted the matter for further hearing in November, 2019.

 


SC halts tree cutting for metro rail car-shed, at Mumbai’s Aarey Colony

The Supreme Court has restrained the authorities in Mumbai, from cutting any more trees in the Aarey Colony area, for the proposed metro rail car-shed

October 7, 2019: The Supreme Court, on October 7, 2019, restrained the authorities from cutting any more trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, to set up a metro car-shed. A special bench, comprising justices Arun Mishra and Ashok Bhushan, said it will have to examine the entire thing and posted the matter for hearing on October 21, 2019, before its forest bench. “Don’t cut anything now,” the bench said. The felling of trees is being opposed by green activists and local residents.

The apex court also directed that if anybody was still under arrest, for protesting the cutting of trees, they should be released forthwith on furnishing of personal bonds. During the hearing the Maharashtra government told the bench that all those arrested for protesting against the cutting of trees in Aarey, have been released. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra government, submitted that he was not aware of all records and assured the bench that nothing will be cut in Aarey, till the case was decided.

The PIL petitioners told the bench that Aarey forest was deemed as an ‘unclassified forest’ by the state government and felling of trees was illegal. However, after perusing the notification issued by the Maharashtra government, the bench said, Aarey area is a no-development zone and not an eco-sensitive zone, as claimed by the petitioner. The apex court decided, on October 6, 2019, to register as a PIL, a letter addressed to the chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, by law student Rishav Ranjan, seeking a stay on the cutting of trees. A notice was posted on the SC website about holding the urgent hearing, by constituting a special bench.

 


Bombay HC refuses to declare Mumbai’s Aarey Colony as forest area

In a setback for activists protesting against the felling of trees in the Aarey Colony area, to make way for a metro car-shed, the Bombay HC has declined to quash the approval to cut the trees

October 4, 2019: In a setback to environmental activists, the Bombay High Court, on October 4, 2019, refused to declare Aarey Colony as a forest and also declined to quash the BMC Tree Authority’s decision allowing felling of over 2,600 trees in the suburban green zone, to pave way for a metro car-shed. A division bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Bharati Dangre dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and environmental activists, on issues related to Aarey Colony in Goregaon, a major green lung of Mumbai.

On the petition filed by city-based NGO Vanshakti, the court said, “The remedy is before the Supreme Court or the National Green Tribunal. We have applied the principle of commonality and not decided on merit.” The HC said it was also dismissing the petitions filed by green activist Zoru Bathena and Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav against the approval for cutting trees. The bench imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on Jadhav, a member of the BMC Tree Authority, a body whose approval is mandatory for cutting any tree in the city for infrastructure or other projects. “We gave you (Jadhav) a choice to withdraw the petition but you chose to pursue it,” the court said.

 


Aarey Colony Metro car-shed: Bombay HC bars cutting of trees till September 30, 2019

The Bombay HC has directed that the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd shall not fell trees in the Aarey Colony area, to make way for a metro car-shed, till September 30, 2019

September 18, 2019: The Bombay High Court will hear a petition, challenging the proposed felling of over 2,600 trees in the Aarey Colony area in north Mumbai from September 30, 2019, said a division bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and justice Bharati Dangre and in the meantime, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) shall not fell any trees, it added.

Activist Zoru Bathena had filed a petition, challenging the approval granted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Tree Authority on August 29, 2019, to cut trees for the metro car-shed. When the bench said it would commence hearing on Bathena’s petition on September 30, 2019, his counsel Janak Dwarkadas said that on September 13, the Tree Authority issued final permission letter to MMRCL for felling or transplanting 2,646 trees. However, no trees could be cut for the next 15 days, because under the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, this much period has to be granted to citizens to raise objections, Dwarkadas said. “The 15-day period gets over on September 28. We would like MMRCL to make a statement that it would not start cutting trees till September 30,” he said.

Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, appearing for MMRCL, said he need not make an official statement but the Authority was not in a ‘hurry’ to cut the trees. “It is understood that they (MMRCL) will not chop the trees,” chief justice Nandrajog then said. The MMRCL, in its affidavit also said Aarey Colony was not a naturally forested area, as claimed by the petitioner. The delay in construction of the car shed will cause a loss of Rs 4.23 crores per day, it said.

Besides Bathena’s, three more petitions have been filed on the issue. The petition filed by NGO Vanshakti, seeks a direction to the government to declare Aarey a forest area. The high court, on September 17, 2019, said it would look into the question whether Aarey Colony is a forest, and if it is not, can the court issue a direction that it be declared a forest. “If we arrive at the conclusion that Aarey has to be declared as forest, then, all the other issues do not arise as all the environmental restrictions come in place. We will also go into the issue of whether the decision taken by the Tree Authority is legal,” chief justice Nandrajog said.

The judges also stated that forest does not mean just trees and plants. “What we common people call forest, a real environmentalist may call a jungle. Forest is like the Amazon forest where the vegetation is so rich and thick that sunlight does not reach the ground,” Nandrajog added.

 


Aarey Colony Metro car-shed: Activists write to Japanese PM for help

A group of activists has written a letter to Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, against the proposal to build a car-shed at Aarey Colony, for the Mumbai Metro Line 3 project, which is part-funded by the JICA

September 17, 2019: A group of activists, protesting against the felling of trees for the upcoming metro car shed in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, have written a letter to Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, seeking his intervention to scrap the project. The Rs 23,136-crore Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro Line 3 project is part-funded to the tune of Rs 13,235 crores by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The letter has been written by Avkash Jadhav, associate professor and head of department, History, of St Xavier’s College, and activists. It has been translated into Japanese by an NGO. “A couple of days ago, I got the final translated version of the letter, citing 10 crucial points that were not shared with JICA at the time of the presentation made for the Aarey car-shed. After translating it into Japanese, we have sent the letter to PM Abe through India Post,” said Jalpesh Mehta of Empower Foundation.

Seeking a meeting with officials at the consulate general of Japan, the group said a copy of the letter sent to PM Abe will be handed over to them. The plan to build the car shed in Aarey, one of the city’s prime green tracts, has come in for criticism from activists and large sections of the society.

 


‘Can monetary value be placed on environmental degradation’, Bombay HC to look into the Aarey Colony issue

The Bombay High Court which is hearing petitions on the cutting of 2,600 trees in Aarey for a metro rail car shed said on September 9, 2019 that it would have to go into the issue of whether monetary value can be placed on environmental loss and degradation

September 10, 2019: The Bombay High Court which is hearing petitions on the cutting of 2,600 trees in Aarey for a metro rail car shed said on September 9, 2019 that it would have to go into the issue of whether monetary value can be placed on environmental loss and degradation.

A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre said the issue pertains to the debate between environment and development.

“We need both environment and development. Hence, we need to contrast and compare the two. The world over scientists and ecologists are researching the issue of how to value environmental loss,” Chief Justice Nandrajog said.

The court said it had collected research material on the issue and gave copies of the said material to advocates representing the petitioners, BMC, the MMRCL and the state government. The bench also sought to know if it should hear all petitions pertaining to the Aarey issue together.

Apart from the petition filed by activist Zoru Bathena challenging the Tree Authority’s approval given on August 29 for felling the trees for the Metro car shed, another petition was filed in October 2018 seeking a direction to declare Aarey a forest area.

The bench said it would post all the petitions on September 17 and decide, on that date, the sequence in which to hear them.

Metro dumps more Aarey land, chooses Wadala for new casting yard

Amidst mounting public protests against its demand for more forest lands from the Aarey Colony greens to build another casting yard for the upcoming metro projects, MMRDA has decided to seek an alternate land parcel at Wadala in the southeastern periphery of the megapolis. Since the past two weeks there have been daily protests by citizens and the greens in many parts of the city against the state’s reported move to fell around 2,900 more tress in the city’s green lung Aarey Colony, which is home to thousands of tribals and hundreds of wildlife species, apart from the unique flora and fauna, to build a casting yard for the 14.47-km Lokhandwala-Kanjurmarg corridor-6.

“We have decided to take up 28,000 sqft of land in the Wadala area to build the casting yard for the metro line 6, no land is being sought from the Aarey Milk Colony,” an MMRDA official clarified.

Nearly 30 percent of the 3,166-acre Aarey Colony has been already leased out to various government bodies like veterinary college, police training and housing, the Film City, for animal husbandry and social forestry, among others.

According to Naturalist Shardul Bajikar, the plots that the government is seeking for the project has exotic trees and wildlife, which if cut will lead to major environmental imbalance.

“Aarey is an active buffer for the protected areas of the SG National Park. This landscape is a veritable green lung and must be protected as it is,” he added.


Aarey Colony Metro car-shed: Bollywood celebs protest against order to cut trees

Several Bollywood celebrities have urged the government to reconsider and reverse the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Tree Authority’s nod, to cut over 2,700 trees for a metro car-shed in the Aarey Colony adjoining suburban Goregaon, which is known as the major green lung of the city. As part of the protest, a human chain was formed by people, on the morning of September 1, 2019, at Aarey forest.

Bollywood actor Shraddha Kapoor, who joined the protest, on her Instagram account said, “How can you give permission to cut the lungs of Mumbai? 2,700 plus trees are said to be cut, which is ridiculous, this permission which has been granted is ridiculous. This can’t happen.” Tagging Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, actor Dia Mirza took to Twitter and wrote, “Not against the metro. Please build it. But not at the cost of disrupting an ecological system that provides invaluable human services. Alternatives for the car shed exist.”

See also: HC questions government decision to set up elevated metro rail lines in Mumbai

Actor Raveena Tandon also expressed outrage against the decision, tweeting, “Shocking that we are letting this happen. Why are the citizens voices not being heard?” Actor Randeep Hooda tagged PM Narendra Modi, along with Maharashtra CM. “What can we helpless citizens do… We cry over Amazon fires and watch this destruction in our own backyard rather quietly? What should we do?” he tweeted. Actor Esha Gupta too called the move ‘ridiculous’ and said, “Our environment shouldn’t be about politics, we need to leave something behind for the kids, not just flying cars n metros, where a plant will soon be the most expensive thing to own….#SaveAareyForest.”

Comedian Kapil Sharma said: “It is essential to make Metro. So how do they make this project possible by saving the trees also, is something the government will have to think.” Playback singer Shaan added: “We are not getting any solution…Definitely we would not want the trees to be cut, it shouldn’t happen, we should avoid it,” he said.

 


Mumbai Metro: Tree authority allows cutting of 2,700 trees for car-shed in Aarey Colony

The Tree Authority of the BMC has approved the felling of over 2,700 trees in the Aarey Colony area of Mumbai for a proposed metro rail car-shed

August 30, 2019: The Tree Authority of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on August 29, 2019, gave its nod to cut over 2,700 trees for a metro rail car-shed in the leafy Aarey Colony area in Mumbai. The proposal was cleared at the Authority’s meeting, chaired by municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, though members from the Shiv Sena opposed it. A senior civic official said Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL), which is constructing the metro, put up the proposal to cut 2,232 trees and promised to compensate by planting three times as many trees elsewhere in the city.

“MMRCL also sought permission to remove and re-transplant another 469 trees,” the official said, adding that before giving the approval, the members of the authority had inspected the site. “Metro is extremely essential for the city and it is everybody’s duty to support infrastructure-related work. In fact, the metro will not only save fuel but will also protect the environment,” BJP member Manoj Kotak said.

Shiv Sena youth wing leader Aaditya Thackeray, however, alleged that chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had been ‘misled’ on the issue. “The metro is a good thing, I use the existing one and will use the new one too. However, whoever planned this green chopping in Mumbai, obviously has no love for our future generations or our city. Has misled the chief minister on its environmental assessment report for Aarey,” Thackeray tweeted.

“Both the chief minister and civic chief have admitted that the flooding of Mumbai is a result of climate change. Sadly, government authorities don’t understand the relation between trees and global warming. 33 hectares of car-shed area in Aarey, has thousands of indigenous trees, species and also the floodplain of Mithi River,” said Amrita Bhattacharjee, who has launched a campaign to save the trees in Aarey Colony area.

 


Aarey Colony Metro Rail Bhavan: Allegations surface over violation of tender norms

In what could be another controversy over the development of the metro rail project in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony area, allegations have surfaced over violations of the CVC’s guidelines for tender norms

August 27, 2019: The Maharashtra government has landed in a fresh soup over the metro rail project in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony area, with the state Congress, on August 26, 2019, claiming that the government had altered the guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), for the tender procedure for the construction of the Metro Rail Bhavan in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, at the behest of builders. Several changes were allegedly made in rules, through the ‘corrigenda’ for the project worth thousands of crores of rupees. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) had floated tenders for the construction of the Metro Rail Bhavan, which will serve as an operation-cum-control-centre for the Mumbai Metro.

See also: 3 new metro lines approved for Mumbai metropolitan region

One of the changes introduced in the tender procedure, included altering the original 2% of the contract value towards security, to 10%. The condition for earnest money deposit was also changed to Rs 9.13 crores from Rs 5 crores. “Instead of implementing the project as per the Central Vigilance Commission guidelines, several changes were made in the rules by issuing a number of corrigenda to suit certain builders. It is a complete violation of the tender procedure,” state Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant alleged.

 


Mumbai Metro: Human chain formed, to protest against tree-cutting

Environmental activists formed a human chain at Marine Drive in south Mumbai, to protest against the tree-cutting in the city, for the ongoing metro rail construction

April 1, 2019: Wildlife conservation activists, students and representatives of those displaced because of various development projects, were among those who took part in a human chain, which extended for almost a kilometre on Marine Drive, on March 30, 2019, to protest against tree-felling for the various metro rail projects in Mumbai. They also demanded that political parties include environmental issues, in their manifestos for the Lok Sabha elections.

See also: Mumbai Metro network to be expanded to 276 kms: Maharashtra finance minister

“This chain is the city’s way of declaring that its citizens will not vote for any party that does not address environmental concerns, in its manifesto for Lok Sabha elections,” said Amrita Bhattacharjee, a senior member of the Aarey Conservation Group (ACG). “We want to save the only green lungs of the city,” Bhattacharjee said, referring to Aarey Colony in north Mumbai. “Why only Mumbai city, environment-related issues in the entire country should be addressed with top priority,” Bhattacharjee said.

The ACG is agitating to protect the green cover in Aarey Colony, where around 2,700 trees are to be cut, to make way for a car-shed for the Mumbai Metro. Trees are being chopped down arbitrarily for the metro and activists are not allowed to be present when the trees are cut, Bhattacharjee said. Advocate Abhishek Bhatt, another activist, said, “Measures for protection of the ecology do not feature in any political agenda across the country.” Tribals and kolis (fishermen), the original inhabitants of Mumbai, were being driven out from their lands for so-called development, the activists said in a statement.


Mumbai Metro told to file affidavit, on felling of trees for Aarey car-shed

The Bombay HC has directed the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation to file an affidavit, stating that it would not cut any tree without taking prior permission and also submit a schedule of the work it plans to undertake, in Aarey Colony

October 4, 2018: The Bombay High Court, on October 3, 2018, directed the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to file an affidavit, stating that it was cutting only those trees at suburban Aarey Colony, for which it has permission. A division bench of acting chief justice NH Patil and justice GS Kulkarni, was hearing a petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Preeti Menon and Ruben Mascarenhas, against the MMRCL’s ‘indiscriminate’ felling of trees inside the Aarey Colony, to pave way for a metro car-shed.

See also: Bombay HC reserves order on Aarey Colony Metro 3 car shed

Advocate Kiran Bagaria, appearing for the MMRCL, told the court that only those trees are being cut, for which permissions have already been sought. “We will not cut any tree without taking prior permission from the concerned authorities,” said Bagaria.

The bench directed the MMRCL to file an affidavit in two weeks, stating so and also submit a schedule of the work it plans to undertake in Aarey Colony, for the construction of the metro car shed. The court, however, refused to pass an order granting an interim relief to the petitioners by staying the cutting of trees, pending hearing of the plea.

In the petition, Menon claimed that she learnt about trees being felled on the Aarey-Marol Road on September 29. “It was seen that more than 100 huge trees were cut and many more were being surveyed.

It is the estimation of the petitioner that almost 400 or more full-grown trees are slated for chopping,” the petition said. It claimed that MMRCL’s act was reckless and was causing permanent damage to the environment.

 

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