Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway: Bombay HC allows felling of 350 mangroves

Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway: Bombay HC allows felling of 350 mangroves

The court observed that it’s an “ambitious and mammoth project of the Government of India” that will “benefit large sections of population”.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, February 08, 2023, 10:44 PM IST
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The Bombay High Court has allowed felling of 350 mangrove trees for the construction of the Mumbai-Vadodara Expressway. The court observed that it’s an “ambitious and mammoth project of the Government of India” that will “benefit large sections of population” in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Union Territory of Daman, Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice Sandeep Marne, last week, allowed the plea filed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) seeking permission to fell the trees. Initially, the authority had sought permission to fell 1,001 mangroves; however, it later sought permission to cut 350 trees over 0.0785 hectares.

Court tells NHAI to adhere to rules

The court has also asked NHAI to adhere to strict conditions imposed by the authorities concerned. It observed, “This will ensure adherence to the principle of sustainable development.”

The court observed that the government’s Bharatmala Pariyojana was a new umbrella programme for the highways sector that focuses on optimising the efficiency of freight and passenger movement across the country by bridging critical infrastructure gaps. “Vadodara-Mumbai greenfield expressway, which forms part of Delhi-Mumbai Expressway corridor (but goes through Coastal Regulation Zones CRZ), will benefit large sections of population,” said the HC.

The authority approached the HC seeking permission in light of a 2018 judgment which imposed a “total freeze” on the destruction of mangroves in Maharashtra.

Project of public importance

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the NHAI, told the court that the project was of public importance and all necessary permissions have been obtained. The authority has acquired necessary permissions from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority; the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Dahanu Taluka Environment Protection Authority and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.

The court noted that all the authorities, while giving its nod, had imposed “stringent conditions” like compensatory afforestation and to develop a separate nursery to raise at least 1,00,000 seedlings of forestry species.

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