After the Supreme Court of India ordered to maintain status quo in terms of cutting of trees in Aarey Milk Colony for the car depot of the Mumbai Metro, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation has issued a statement saying that it resects the court order.
The Supreme Court had converted a letter written by some law students to the CJI against cutting the trees to a PIL, and heard it in the morning. During the hearing, the advocate of the Maharashtra Government had informed the court no more trees are required to be cut, as all trees that needed to be cut were cut by the MMRC. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had said that once the Court reopens after the Dusshera break, the case can be taken up by the Environment Bench on the legality or illegality of the trees cut.
The court then ordered to stop cutting of any more trees and to maintain status quo in this regard, while saying that the matter will be heard on 21st October. The SC also asked the government to submit a report on compulsory afforestation in lieu of the trees felled.
In response to the judgement, MMRC said that after the Bombay High Court dismissed petitions against the Tree Authority order permitting cutting of 2185 trees, MMRC had cut 2141 trees by 5th October, which means only 44 trees are remained to be cut. It said that no more trees will be cut at the car shed site as per Supreme Court order. But MMRC added that all other works, including clearing the logs of already cut trees, will continue at the site.
We respect the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated October 7, 2019. Following is our official statement. pic.twitter.com/o8CjSmHAB2
— MumbaiMetro3 (@MumbaiMetro3) October 7, 2019
The Metro Rail Corporation also added that construction activities for the car shed will start after clearing the already cut trees. It may be noted that while the apex court has ordered to stop cutting of trees, no stay on construction of the Metro Train Depot has been ordered.
The MMRC also informed that it has already planted 23,846 trees and additionally distributed 25,000 saplings as per the green initiatives of the metro project. The Tree Authority has also ordered to plant 13,110 trees in the Aarey Milk Colony area within 30 days in exchange for permitting cutting of 2185 trees and transplantation of additional 461 trees in the car shed site.
MMRC informed that work on the project has already been delayed by over six months due to legal hurdles created by activists, but they expect to meet the deadline.