What safety measures they can take and whether they can replant the trees elsewhere to minimise the damage to the environment.
Mumbai: The Bombay high court has asked the Mumbai Metro authorities and BMC not to cut even one more tree for the Metro-rail construction work at Cuffe Parade and Churchgate until further orders. The court was hearing a petition filed by Cuffe Parade and Churchgate residents’ associations, stating that more than 5, 000 trees would be cut for the construction of Metro- 3 Seepz-Colaba Metro line.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dr Manjula Chellur and Justice G.S. Kulkarni were hearing a petition filed by the residents of Churchgate in south Mumbai against the cutting of over 5,000 trees that are part of Colaba Woods to pave way for a Metro station. The petition prayed that the indiscriminate cutting of tress would cause irreparable damage to the environment and, hence, should be stopped. Senior counsel for the petitioners Janak Dwarkadas informed the court that the Tree Authority of India had given permission to MMRDA to cut the trees without proper application of mind after counsel for MMRDA informed the court that it had taken permission from the authority.
“Prima facie we feel there has to be a serious concern over the issue because the trees that will be cut are more than 5,000 in number. Such massive destruction to the environment cannot be allowed without first seeing if measures can be taken to save the trees,” said Dr Chellur.
The bench further said that an independent committee should be set up to look into the issue and also asked the residents to suggest names for the same. The bench also suggested that the authority needed to approach the issue from the angle of how to save the trees. What safety measures they can take and whether they can replant the trees elsewhere to minimise the damage to the environment.
“The BMC and MMRDA have sought time to respond till tomorrow. Meanwhile, we make it clear that none of the authorities will proceed to cut any tree till further orders. You will not touch a single tree,” the bench said. The next hearing is scheduled for Friday.