Maintaining that it was convinced beyond doubt that construction of Mumbai Metro line-4 was of “immense public importance”, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday allowed cutting of 357 mangrove trees for Bhakti Park Metro station on the Wadala-Ghatkopar-Mulund-Thane- Kasarvadavali route. The court also directed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to pay for planting 4,444 saplings on forest land at Gorai Village in suburban Mumbai.
A division bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and R I Chagla passed the order on a plea filed by MMRDA seeking permission to execute construction of work related to Metro line-4. The proposed construction, under Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-II area, include a Metro station at Bhakti Park in Wadala, 48 piers for Metro alignment covering 1,200 square metres, and a temporary approach road covering total 0.1236 hectares to be used during construction phase and to be restored thereafter.
The total route length of the elevated Metro line-4 is 32.32 km with a total of 32 stations, out of which 1.2-km alignment at Bhakti Park is set to pass through CRZ-II area, as per sanctioned Coastal Zone Management Phase.
The MMRDA submitted the Forest department had identified one-hectare degraded forest land at Gorai village in Mumbai for compensatory afforestation. The Division Forest Officer, Mumbai Mangrove Conservation, said implementation of Metro network, including Metro-4, was important as the state government had planned Wadala area as the future IT and commercial hub, which will be similar to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) and lead to increase passenger loads in future on these adjacent stations.
The MMRDA submitted that the proposed work would require cutting of 357 mangrove trees for construction of Metro station and piers and that 4,444 mangrove saplings would be planted, which are more than 10 times the total number of mangrove trees to be cut during the construction of Metro Project.
After hearing the submissions and perusing material on record, the HC said all requisite permissions for execution of the project are already granted by various statutory authorities and MMRDA has complied with most of the conditions. The bench, led by Justice Kathawalla, accepted MMRDA undertaking and allowed its plea, saying, “We are convinced beyond any doubt that the project of construction of Metro Line-4 is of immense public importance from the point of view of public transport.”
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