The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) to file an affidavit stating that it was cutting only those trees at the suburban Aarey Colony for which it has permission.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice G S Kulkarni was hearing a petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders Preeti Menon and Ruben Mascarenhas against the MMRCL’s ‘indiscriminate’ felling of trees inside the Aarey Colony to pave way for a metro car shed.
Advocate Kiran Bagaria, appearing for MMRCL, told the court that only those trees are being cut for which permissions have already been sought.
“We will not cut any tree without taking prior permission from the concerned authorities,” said Bagaria.
The bench directed MMRCL to file an affidavit in two weeks stating so and also submit a schedule of work it plans to undertake in Aarey colony for construction of the Metro car shed.
The court, however, refused to pass an order granting an interim relief to the petitioners by staying the cutting of trees pending hearing of the plea.
In the petition, Menon claimed that she learnt about trees being felled on the Aarey Marol Road on September 29.
“It was seen that more than 100 huge trees were cut and many more were being surveyed. It is the estimation of the petitioner that almost 400 or more full-grown trees are slated for chopping,” the petition said.
It claimed that MMRCL’s act was reckless and was causing permanent damage to the environment.