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Will Future Generations See Trees Only in Photos?: Bombay HC on Felling of Trees in Aarey Colony for Metro

Environmental activist Zoru Bathena has challenged the decision of the BMC's Tree Authority to allow the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd to cut 2,646 trees.

PTI

Updated:October 1, 2019, 7:19 PM IST
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Will Future Generations See Trees Only in Photos?: Bombay HC on Felling of Trees in Aarey Colony for Metro
File photo of Bombay High Court.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court said on Tuesday that trees should not be cut indiscriminately in the name of development, otherwise future generations would see trees only in pictures.

A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre made the acid remark while hearing a public interest litigation against planned felling of over 2,600 trees in Aarey Colony in north Mumbai for a Metro car shed.

Environmental activist Zoru Bathena has challenged the decision of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's Tree Authority to allow the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) to cut 2,646 trees.

BMC lawyer Aspi Chinoy argued on Tuesday that the Tree Authority took the decision after "due application of mind".

MMRCL counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni said the metro project was of paramount importance for the city.

"Every day 10 persons die due to overcrowding in local suburban trains. The Metro project will ease the pressure from the trains," he said.

Bathena said if the government was so concerned about overcrowding in trains, it should have taken steps to increase the frequency of trains or the number of railway lines.

"Don't cut so many trees...that our future generations do not know what a tree is... we will have to show them photographs of trees and say see, this is a tree. Or they will see trees painted on the metro trains," Chief Justice Nandrajog said.

Kumbhakoni said the MMRCL has already started compensatory planting of trees at the adjoining Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

"We have planted 20,000 trees so far and will take care of them for seven years. Majority of the trees are in good condition," he argued.

With completion of arguments, the PIL was reserved for judgement.

The MMRCL's plan to cut trees for building car shed for the Metro phase III is facing strong opposition from green activists and sections of civil society.

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