Mumbai: The BMC is leaving no stone unturned to justify and defend its decision to allow cutting of 2185 trees to pave way for the Metro III car shed at Aarey Colony, the city’s only green lung. The civic body has claimed that the controversial Metro III line, once made operational, would help in reducing the carbon emissions.
This claim has been made in its latest reply filed in the Bombay High Court in response to a petition filed by activist Zoru Bhathena, who has challenged the decision of the Tree Authority to allow felling of 2185 trees for the Metro III car shed.
The BMC has filed this reply through Sunil Rathod, the superintendent of BMC’s gardens department. In this reply, the civic body has relied heavily upon a report submitted to it by the Terracon, a global firm, which studies the impact of any development project.
“Metro III is an important public transport project which will provide much needed transport facilities to a city like Mumbai, where there is an acute shortage of public transport. Notably, 10 casualties take place on a daily basis in the local trains due to overcrowding,” the reply reads.
“Moreover, as the Metro is expected to wean people away from using cars, taxis and two wheelers, it will also result in a sharp reduction in atmospheric pollution or environmental hazards caused by automobile exhaust gases,” the BMC claimed.
The report further goes on to quote the Terracon report, which was submitted to the BMC recently. “Each metro trip will result in reduction of 324 kg of carbon dioxide.
In fact, 197 fully loaded metro trips will suffice to offset annual increase in carbon emission of 63,953 kg from removal of 2185 trees, which are proposed to be cut,” the reply reads.
It further states, “The Metro III operations would cover the annual carbon sequestration by 2702 trees within four days of operations and the lifetime carbon sequestration of 2702 trees in 80 days of operations.”
The reply further points out that the BMC as well as the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) have in fact accepted the suggestions of the three experts and have also considered the suggestions and objections put forth by the general public.
“We have considered the suggestions and objections of the public members and also of the experts, which were made during various meetings and field visits.
In fact as a consequence of the experts’ suggestion, 55 trees along the boundary wall and fencing have been retained by changing the alignment of road and pipeline,” the reply reads.
It further points out that one single tree, which the experts specifically asked the BMC not to cut, have been considered, however, the suggestion of retaining all the large trees within the actual construction area, has not been considered, the reply states.