Mumbai: Activists and citizens of Mumbai will have to place their concerns of felling of trees due to the Metro III (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) line before Bombay High Court (HC) to a committee appointed by the Chief Justice. The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday passed an order directing the petitioners to approach this committee for redressal of their grievances.
This committee of two judges will oversee the compliance with regard to the transplantation and replantation of the trees in terms of the undertaking given by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC). MMRC had submitted an undertaking of replanting trees to the HC on May 9.
Though the SC did not mention anything specifically about the stay of felling of trees the citizen activists are in a fix whether this committee will listen to their concerns regarding felling of trees or only plantation or replantation. Nina Verma, the petitioner, told the Free Press Journal, “We presented a strong case by raising the point that nobody knows why so many trees are being cut. We are not sure whether this committee will look into the matter of felling of trees.”
The MMRC had claimed that this underground line would lead to felling of 1,074 trees and transplantation of 1,727 more. The activists had pointed out that over 5,000 trees would be affected as the MMRC was not sure about the number of trees to be affected at Aarey Colony.
The MMRC, which is eagerly waiting to start the work of clearing of sites by cutting trees before monsoons, issued a statement after the SC order. A spokesperson from MMRC stated, “The Supreme Court on May 18, 2017 heard the special leave petition filed by Nina Verma challenging the Bombay High Court order on vacating of cutting of trees dated May 5, 2017. The Supreme Court has confirmed the High Court order and refused any relief on the stay vacated by the High Court on affected trees, stating that the High Court order was well reasoned.”