HC allows MMRDA to cut 36, transplant 913 trees in Thane for Metro-4
In a reprieve for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the Bombay high court (HC) on Friday vacated stay on tree felling for Mumbai Metro-4 that connects Wadala in eastern suburbs to Kasarwadvli on Ghodbunder Road in Thane.
The bench of justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice RI Chagla allowed MMRDA to cut 36 and transplant 913 trees along two patches of the Metro corridor; one from Thane-Mulund check naka to Majiwada junction and the other from Manpada to Dongarpada on Ghodbunder road.
Acting on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Thane Nagrik Pratishthan, another bench of the court had restrained the project proponents from cutting or transplanting any further trees pursuant to August 23, 2019 order of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) tree authority. The tree authority had on August 23 allowed 18 proposals, including two related to Metro-4 line and granted permissions for cutting 1,063 and transplanting 2,775 trees.
The bench headed by justice Dharmadhikari had on November 25 vacated the stay, prompting the petitioner body to move Supreme Court. The apex court on December 12 restored the stay and remanded the matter back to high court for interim order.
On Friday, the bench again vacated the interim order after the petitioner’s lawyer, senior advocate Gayatri Singh, agreed to a modification of the stay order in view of the fact that public projects of vital importance had been stalled because of it. Senior advocate SM Gorwadkar also assured to redress most of the grievances of the petitioner body during the modification.
Gorwadkar assured the court that TMC tree authority will make all documents related to the August 23 permission available to the representatives of the petitioner, although he refuted the petitioner’s allegation that documents were not available in public domain. He maintained that the documents were available on the civic website.
On Gorwadkar’s request, the court on Friday also allowed TMC to cut 101 and transplant 664 trees, of which 77 trees are required to be cut for four road concretisation and road-widening projects in Thane city and Kalwa. The rest 24 trees are required to be cut for construction of a building for Thane district court.
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