Mumbai, October 7: Hours after the Supreme Court stayed the felling of trees at Mumbai's Aarey colony for the proposed Metro car shade, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRLC) said it would adhere to the top court's directive. The nodal Metro body said it had initiated the land clearance drive after the Bombay High Court's order dated October 4, and ended up axing 2,141 trees till October 5. Aarey Forest Case: Petitioner Thanks Supreme Court for Taking Cognizance in the Matter.
The Bombay HC had, on Friday, cleared the way for tree felling as it dismissed all petitions challenging the BMC Tree Authority's decision permitting the axing of trees for the proposed car shade. Shortly after the judicial nod, the Metro body began an overnight deforestation drive in which over 1,200 trees were cut. By Sunday, hundreds of more trees were slashed down.
"Following the decision of High Court on October 4 upholding permission of Tree Authority, the felling of 2,185 trees was undertaken on October 4-5, 2019 and as on date 2,141 trees have been felled. These will be cleared from site and subsequent construction activities will be carried out," the MMRLC said in a statement.
"We respect the order of Supreme Court passed today. No future tree felling activity at the car shed site in Aarey Milk Colony will be undertaken.Other works,including clearing of already felled trees,will continue at the site," the Metro body's spokesperson added.
The Supreme Court's special bench, which converted a letter sent by a delegation of students into a public interest litigation, passed an order earlier today stopping the axing of trees with immediate effect. The bench has asked the authorities in Mumbai to maintain status quo till the apex court issued a ruling.
"We respect the order of Supreme Court passed today. No future tree felling activity at the car shed site in Aarey Milk Colony will be undertaken.Other works,including clearing of already felled trees,will continue at the site," the Mumbai Metro said.