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Home Fact-Check As Mumbai Metro starts cutting trees in Aarey Colony following HC’s green signal, activists...

As Mumbai Metro starts cutting trees in Aarey Colony following HC’s green signal, activists spread new lie of 15 days waiting period

Tree authority order was issued on 13th September, hence 15 days waiting period is already over

Hours after Bombay High Court dismissed all petitions against cutting trees in Aarey Colony to clear space for the car shed of Mumbai Metro’s phase 3, authorities started cutting the trees late in the evening on Friday.

The moment the news of the same appeared, activists protesting against the project arrived at the spot to try and stop the felling of trees. While those could arrive at Aarey Colony, others stated urging people on social media to rush to the spot to save the trees.

While doing so, the activists used the tool they have using to try and scuttle the project, the use of lies. Many activists started spreading a rumour that this action by the government is illegal, as according to them, trees can’t be cut for 15 days after the order for the same is uploaded on the website.

Bollywood actress and anti-metro rail activist Dia Mirza tweeted that “there is supposed to be a 15 day waiting period after permission is granted and notice has been uploaded on official website”.

The argument was given by many activists, saying that the government was violating rules by cutting without waiting for 15 days, hence the operation was illegal. Some of them also posted a screenshot of BMC website showing that the order issued by Tree Authority of The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai was uploaded on 4th October, hence the authorities can’t cut trees for 15 days as per the order.

But this is a false and misleading claim, as although it is true that the Tree Authority did impose a waiting period of 15 days, that period is already over. Activists are saying that the waiting period starts from the date of upload, which is completely false, because the waiting period starts from the date the order was issued, and the order to cut 2185 trees and transplant 461 trees was issued by the authority on 13th September. The order says “Permission for Cutting of 2185 trees (bearing Trees No. ***) and Transplanting of 461 trees (bearing Trees No. ***) is sanctioned by the Tree Authority vide its Resolution No. 33 dated 29.08.2019.

Tree Authority order

It further states, “As per the provision under Section 8 (3)(a) of the said Act, you are hereby directed that no tree shall be cut/transplanted until fifteen days after the permission is given by the Tree Authority. The tree authority also orders the Metro authorities to plant 13,110 trees within 30 days.

This clearly means that the Tree Authority had decided to allow cutting and transplanting of trees on 29th August, and it had issued the order to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd on 13th September. Therefore, the waiting period of 15 days is already over on 29th September, as it starts from the day the order was issued, not when it was uploaded on the BMC website. As the High Court dismissed all petitions against the order, this means the Tree Authority order remains valid, along with its issue date and the waiting period. The date of uploading the same on the website is not relevant in this case, as claimed by the activists.

The order may be uploaded on 4th October, but it was already on public domain. The petitions were filed in the Bombay High Court against this order only, therefore the activists can’t even claim that they were not aware of the order before it was uploaded.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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