The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that it will consider an application of the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) seeking permission to remove mangroves in Thane, Navi Mumbai and Palghar districts to make way for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.
The NHSRCL had moved the Bombay High Court last month, after the MCZMA told them that it cannot grant permission to remove mangroves on around 19 hectares, citing a high court direction.
The NHSRCL had approached the court after their proposal was rejected by MCZMA on December 22, 2018.
On Tuesday, MCZMA counsel Sharmila Deshmukh informed the court that they will consider the proposal and take a decision within four weeks.
A division bench of justices B R Gavai and N J Jamadar said the court will consider the matter after the decision of MCZMA.
The court has posted the matter for hearing after five weeks.
Lawyer Pralhad Paranjape, appearing for NHSRCL, requested the court to direct the MCZMA to take a decision in the matter in two weeks citing that it was project of ‘prime importance’ , however, the MCZMA said it requires four weeks.
According to the petition, 155.64 km of the 508 km-long corridor passes through Maharashtra and it affects 131.30 hectares of forest area, including mangroves spread over 32.43 hectares.
In their proposal, NHSRCL had stated that about 1,50,752 mangroves spread over 18.92 hectares would be affected by the corridor.
In the previous hearing, Paranjape had told the court that they have proposed to plant five times the actual number of the trees that may have to be uprooted for the project. He further told court that the bullet train project was pioneering and important for the public.
Pranajape also told the court that NHSRCL has submitted its application to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), which are pending consideration.
The bench observed that the MoEF was a necessary party to the proceedings, therefore it directed him to make the Union ministry a respondent to their petition.