The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Tree Authority has issued the final permission letter to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) for felling and transplanting 2,646 trees in Aarey Colony for construction of the proposed car shed for the Metro 3 corridor. No trees, however, can be cut for the next 15 days, as the period, under Maharashtra (Urban Areas) Protection and Preservation of Trees Act, 1975, is reserved for objections that citizens would want to raise in the matter.
“As per the provision under section 8 (3) of the said Act, you are hereby directed that no tree shall be cut/transplanted until 15 days after the permission is given by the Tree Authority,” the letter, issued by the Tree Authority on September 13, reads.
Section 8 (3) of the Act allows citizens to raise objections against a move within 15 days. “If there is any objection, then it should be placed before Tree Authority for reconsideration. The final decision should be taken within 15 days,” an official said.
While granting the final go-ahead on Friday evening, the civic body has also directed the MMRCL to plant around 13,000 trees within 30 days.
“You are directed to plant 13,110 trees in the said property within 30 days in accordance with the provision under section 8 (5) of the said Act and intimate the tree officers about action taken thereto,” the Tree Authority’s letter reads.
As per section 8 (5) of the Act, the compensatory plantation of trees should start when the felling is started and the plantation should be completed within 30 days since the start of felling of trees.
The Tree Authority has also directed MMRCL to take care of newly planted trees for next three years and submit six monthly report on the status of trees before BMC’s garden department.
On August 29, the Authority had approved the felling of 2,185 trees and transplanting of 461 in Aarey Colony by vote. As per the procedure, the Garden Department was to send a formal permission letter to the department concerned in the matter.
The formal letter, however, was delayed as Shiv Sena leader Yashwant Jadhav had written to the Municipal Secretary department – which takes minutes of BMC meetings – to not issue the sanction letter to the Garden Department.
The Bombay High Court, meanwhile, will hear a bunch of Public Interest Litigations (PIL) related to felling if trees in Aarey Colony on September 17. Mumbai Congress has organised “Vrikshpujan” (tree worship) of around 2,700 trees that will be removed for the proposed car shed at Aarey Milk Colony on Sunday. Citizens from across the city will also form human chain on the third consecutive week on Sunday around the barricaded car shed site.