The Bombay High Court sought to know from the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) what safeguards it has in place to ensure citizens’ constitutional right to a pollution-free environment, including noise pollution, is protected.
A division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla was hearing an application filed by the MMRCL seeking modification of an earlier high court order which prohibited the firm from carrying out construction work at Cuffe Parade in south Mumbai during the night.
In its application, the MMRCL said it had to carry out tunnel boring and excavation work which once started cannot be stopped.
“The work will go on for a period of 18 months. However, the excavation work will not create much noise. The only noise would be of trucks transporting the excavated soil,” Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhkoni, appearing for the MMRCL, said.
Kumbhkoni added that the Environment Protection Act and the Noise Pollution Rules did not apply to the metro rail project.
The court, however, said whether they carry out work during the daytime or night, the MMRCL should abide by the Noise Pollution Rules.
“Under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, a person has the right to a pollution-free environment which includes noise pollution. What safeguards do you (MMRCL) have in place to ensure this right of citizens is protected,” Justice Oka queried.
Senior counsel Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Larsen and Toubro, who are the contractors of the project, told the court that the metro work would not make any more noise than prevailing levels in Cuffe Parade.
The court said it would continue hearing the matter on July 2.
The high court had, in December last, restricted the MMRCL from carrying out any construction work in the night as it was creating noise pollution and causing hassles to people residing in the area.
The 33-kilometre underground Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro line 3 project will connect Cuffe Parade in south Mumbai to the SEEPZ and the international airport in the city’s Andheri suburb.