Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has given another green signal to chop down 216 trees between Andheri and Dahisar, on the Metro 7 route. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Nitin Jamdar allowed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to cut down the trees which, as per the authority, were obstructing the construction work.
The MMRDA had moved the court through their counsel GW Mattos seeking vacation of a stay that was imposed by another bench headed by Justice Vidyasagar Kanade in February last year.
The stay was clamped in response to a petition filed by activist Zoru Bathena, who had claimed that the MMRDA was cutting down trees in an arbitrary manner, without identifying trees that are to be cut and those which are to be transplanted.
While vacating the stay, Chief Justice Chellur said, “We have already observed that Metro is meant for the welfare of the public. If the public sits on the administration’s head over everything, then no work would be done. We are of the opinion that citizens must approach the committee (of two sitting judges) that has been constituted specifically to deal with issues pertaining to felling of trees.”
The judges also said that if the citizens think that the administration is working in an ‘arbitrary’ manner, then they have the liberty to move the HC.
Meanwhile, on another petition filed by the JN Petit library, the judges refused to stay the tunnelling work for Metro III, going on near Hutatma Chowk, Fort. The historic library had highlighted the fact that the vibrations created due to the tunnelling work were far more than the permissible limits of 5 mm per second.
The advocate appearing for the library also told the judges that a heavy limestone finial adorning a portion of the building’s ceiling had collapsed on August 25, due to the vibrations created by the tunnelling work. The library sought a stay as several ‘historic and heritage’ structures are located on the D. N. Road .