The Supreme Court on Monday said there was no stay on the construction of the Metro car shed at Aarey Colony in Mumbai.
“We have made it clear that we are not staying the project,” observed Justice Arun Mishra when Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Maharashtra and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), pointed out that the October 7 order of the apex court only stayed further felling of trees in the land identified for the car shed.
The two-judge bench, also comprising Justice Deepak Gupta, asked Mehta to submit a report on the number of trees cut and apprise it whether the land was being used for any other purpose. “We want to know in black and white,” the bench said.
The court said this when a counsel who moved the court against the Bombay High Court ruling in the matter expressed fears that more trees may be cut.
Both Mehta and Senior Advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Maninder Singh, appearing for the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, denied that the land would be used for any purpose other than the car shed.
“The plot is only for a metro shed,” said Rohatgi. “What is cut is cut,” added Mehta, stating that no more trees had been felled.
In the previous hearing, the court had asked Singh to inform it about the condition of trees planted as part of its afforestation drive two years ago. Singh replied that the trees were in a “healthy position”. The court was not satisfied and asked him to produce photos of the trees and measurements of their girth and height.
The court directed that its October 7 order directing “status quo” with respect to “cutting of trees” will continue to operate and fixed November 15 as the next date of hearing.