No Trees To Be Cut In Mumbai’s Aarey Colony For 15 Days, Says Court

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Residents protest in opposition to slicing of timber in Aarey Colony for Metro challenge.

Mumbai: 

The Bombay Excessive Courtroom on Tuesday mentioned Mumbai Metro Rail Company Ltd (MMRCL) shall not fell timber within the Aarey Colony in Mumbai to make approach for a Metro automotive shed until September 30.

The court docket will hear a petition difficult proposed felling of over 2,600 timber on this space in north Mumbai from September 30, mentioned a division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre.

Activist Zoru Bathena has filed a petition difficult the approval granted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Company’s Tree Authority on August 29 to chop timber for the Metro automotive shed.

When the bench mentioned it could start listening to on Zoru Bathena’s petition on September 30, his counsel Janak Dwarkadas mentioned that on September 13 the tree authority issued ultimate permission letter to MMRCL for felling or transplanting 2,646 timber.

Nevertheless, no timber may be lower for the subsequent 15 days, as a result of underneath the Maharashtra (City Areas) Safety and Preservation of Timber Act, 1975, this a lot interval must be granted to residents to lift objections, Janak Dwarkadas mentioned. 

“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 mentioned. 

Advocate Normal Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, showing for MMRCL, mentioned he needn’t make official assertion however the authority was not in a “hurry” to chop the timber.

“It is understood that they (MMRCL) will not chop the trees,” Chief Justice Nandrajog then mentioned. 

As per Zoru Bathena’s petition, on August 29 the Tree Authority authorised MMRCL’s proposal to chop 2,185 timber and uproot and replant elsewhere one other 461 timber.

Inexperienced activists are against felling of timber in Aarey Colony, which, along with Sanjay Gandhi Nationwide Park, is named the inexperienced lung of the metropolis. 

MMRCL and the BMC have argued that metro is in bigger public curiosity.

Metro will wean folks away from utilizing automobiles, taxis and two-wheelers and end in sharp discount in air pollution, the 2 companies mentioned.

MMRCL in its affidavit additionally mentioned Aarey Colony was not a naturally forested space as claimed by the petitioner. 

The delay in development of the automotive shed will trigger a lack of Rs four.23 crore per day, it mentioned.

In addition to Zoru Bathena’s, three extra petitions have been filed on the difficulty. The petition filed by NGO Vanshakti seeks a path to the federal government to declare Aarey a forest space. 

The excessive court docket on Tuesday mentioned it could look into the query whether or not Aarey Colony is a forest, and if it isn’t, can the court docket challenge a path that it’s 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 mentioned.

The judges additionally said that forest doesn’t imply simply timber and vegetation.

“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,” Chief Justice Nandrajog mentioned. 

The listening to on NGO Vanshakti’s petition will proceed on Wednesday. 

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