Green light for Metro III, Bombay High Court vacates stay on cutting trees

Narsi BenwalUpdated: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 07:02 AM IST
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Mumbai: Clearing decks for Metro III, Bombay High Court on Friday vacated the stay it imposed on cutting down of trees across the city, that had completely stalled the work of metro line from Colaba-Seepz-Bandra.

A Division Bench presided over by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Girish Kulkarni was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by a group of citizens contending that as per the Metro III plan, a total of 5,000 trees from Seepz to Colaba would be cut down. They also contended that these trees would be cut down ‘indiscriminately.’

The Bench had in February this year stayed the cutting down of trees which has completely stalled the work of Metro III project.
The Bench noted that the present transport system is overcrowded and a desire for smooth and comfortable travel in Mumbai has been a distant dream.

Also Read: Mumbai’s Metro III project could have run into green hurdle

The Bench said, “The present public transport facilities in Mumbai are grossly over-crowded, over-strained and inadequate. The citizens are required to travel with immense pain and hardship and in conditions endangering their lives in the overcrowded existing suburban trains and buses.”

The Bench also noted that a massive development project like the Metro III, some damage would be caused to the trees and environment.

The Bench said, “It cannot be overlooked that once functional, Metro III would also help for a better environment and would also facilitate to improve the socio-economic condition of the citizens. Thus, we intend to bring about a balance in the protection of the environment and the development in question.”

The Bench also trashed the contention of the petitioners, who sought a complete ban on chopping of trees. The Bench said, “If a hard stand, as canvassed by the petitioners is accepted, then it would be impossible to have any development for the betterment of the citizens residing in this metropolitan city. We also cannot overlook the far-reaching benefits Metro Rail has provided in other cities like Kolkata, New Delhi and Bangalore.”

The Bench granted 10 days’ time to the petitioners to challenge its orders and said the stay would continue for the next 10 days.

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