The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a batch of petitions challenging the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s decision to allow the cutting of 2,646 trees in Mumbai’s Aarey forest in the city’s northern part for a metro car shed, NDTV reported. Last month, the government had told the court that the area cannot be given the status of a forest.
One of the pleas dismissed by High Court Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharti Dangre challenged the August 29 resolution of the civic body’s Tree Authority to cut the trees. It was filed by environmentalist Zoru Bhathena. The second petition was filed by non-governmental organisation Vanashakti, which urged the court to declare more than 1,000 hectares of Aarey Colony an “ecologically sensitive zone” under the Indian Forest Act.
The judges said Vanashakti’s plea was dismissed on the principle of commonality and not on merit, reported Bar and Bench. The court said either the Supreme Court or the National Green Tribunal can provide the remedy sought by the NGO.
There have been protests in the last few weeks against the civic body’s decision to cut the trees on 30 hectares of Aarey land to build the metro car depot. While, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited – the agency implementing the metro project – claimed it would compensate by planting thrice as many saplings elsewhere, protestors demanded that the car shed be shifted to an alternative site.
Last month, protestors even camped outside actor Amitabh Bachchan’s bungalow in the city’s Juhu locality after Bachchan tweeted in support of the metro project. The police even detained 22 students, who protested under the banner of Vidhyarthi Bharatiya Sanghatna. They carried posters calling for saving the Aarey forest.
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