Work is currently underway on Metro 4, a 32.32 km route from Wadala in Mumbai to Kasarvadavali in Thane.
Mumbai: A day after chief minister Uddhav Thackeray stayed cutting of trees for metro car shed at Aarey colony, another metro project was embroiled in a controversy over illegal tree-cutting. An offence was registered against the contractor and officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) on Saturday for alleged tree felling along the Metro 4 line in Thane. Work is currently underway on Metro 4, a 32.32 km route from Wadala in Mumbai to Kasarvadavali in Thane.
Tree officer of Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) Kedar Ramakant Patil alleged that six trees were illegally axed near Teen Haath Naka in Thane during the ongoing construction work at the site.
The Naupada police booked the contractor and MMRDA officials under relevant sections of the Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act 1975. The move came after activists complained to the Thane mayor Naresh Mhaske, stating that the tree-cutting was against the Bombay high court’s stay order on felling of 3,571 trees, including the ones part of Metro 4 route.
“The trees were chopped sneakingly during midnight despite the HC’s September order, which stayed cutting of 3,571 trees that were illegally approved by the Tree Authority of TMC on May 22,” said Rohit Joshi, a Thane-based activist.
The HC had lifted its earlier stay on chopping trees for Metro Line 4 on November 25 stating that the petitioner, Rohit Joshi, had not spelled out the violations committed for construction of elevated metro, when the former urged that the metro should be underground.
However, he clarified that it was illegal to cut the trees at Metro 4 site as the stay on tree-felling approved in May continued to be in effect.
Thane mayor had also opposed the cutting of trees that occurred during late night hours and stated that the permissions must be reviewed.
“There is a clear stay on the felling of trees, still they were cut by MMRDA which is violation of the HC order. The TMC will review the permissions and will ensure that development work is done without cutting trees, unless extremely necessary,” Mr Mhaske said.