Batting for preserving green cover, the Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that the speed at which deforestation was taking place that, before anyone realises it, everything will be lost.
The observation came from Chief Justice of India S A Bobde while hearing a matter regarding the cutting of trees for construction of a foot bridge in West Bengal.
Batting for the bridge, the state government had said that there were around 800 deaths near the railway lines where the project was planned, due to lack of a safe crossing point.
Hearing the plea, the SC had in January this year directed the setting up of a committee to suggest a sustainable idea which would ensure all interests are taken care of.
Taking up the matter Tuesday, the Bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, pointed out that such questions were repeatedly coming up before the court.
The CJI referred to a metro shed project and the Bombay coastal road project in this regard.
The bench sought to know if the value of the green cover should not also be factored in while planning a project.
CJI Bobde also expressed concern over the depletion of water bodies because of unscientific development.
He referred to three lakes in Nagpur located at different levels in the city. They were interconnected and because of this, the one at the lowest level always had the best water, he recalled, adding that now, people have blocked the channels with concrete and as a result, the water quality has gone for a toss.
“I understand you don’t have the brains to build new ones, but you are also destroying the existing ones”, the CJI remarked.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing an NGO which had moved the court against the cutting of trees, said the environment may take a turn for the very worse in another 50 years, as it is likely temperatures will rise and cutting of trees has a role to play in it.
“It is believable, very believable”, added the CJI. The court will take up the matter after four weeks when it will consider the committee’s report.
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