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The Bombay High Court on Friday extended by two weeks the stay granted on felling of trees to pave the way for Seepz-Colaba Metro line project in the city on a plea alleging environmental damage. The stay was granted by a bench of Chief Justice Dr Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni.
Veena Verma and other residents of Churchgate had filed a petition against the cutting of over 5,000 trees to pave the way for the Metro line saying proper procedures were not followed in this regard.
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During the hearing, the bench asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) to allow the petitioners to inspect the documents pertaining to permissions for tree felling.
The matter was adjourned for two weeks to enable the parties to carry out the inspection. Earlier, the high court had granted a stay on felling of trees for the Metro Rail project until further orders. The HC had also on the previous hearing sought to know what survey had the MMRC and the BMC undertaken before deciding to cut over 5000 trees.
The MMRC had informed the court that it had taken permission from the BMC’s Tree Authority department to cut the trees which existed on the Metro route. The court had earlier this month expressed concern over the issue and said that such “massive destruction to the environment” cannot be allowed. The bench had said that it may set up an independent committee to look into the matter.
Jitendra Pardeshi, Tree Officer and Superintendent of Gardens, BMC, said in an affidavit that procedure had been duly followed while cutting down the trees. A total of 26 applications had been received and permissions were granted in 25 cases while one was pending.
Pardeshi said that the ratio of 1:3 would be strictly followed — for every tree that was felled, three new ones would be planted.