The Bombay High Court today permitted the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) to cut mangroves to set up the suburban Bandra Kurla Complex station as part of the Metro Line III. A division bench of justices V M Kanade and M S Sonak allowed an application filed by the MMRCL seeking permission to cut 108 mangroves in suburban Bandra Kurla Complex. The permission was required as the high court had earlier, while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Bombay Environmental Action Group, mandated taking its nod for anything regarding mangroves. The court today accepted an undertaking submitted by the MMRCL assuring that it had taken all the necessary permissions from the authorities concerned and that it would plant mature trees in the area after the project work got over and would look after the trees for a period of three years thereafter.
“Ensure that you (MMRCL) have all the necessary permissions. Also make sure that the trees are planted properly… the method has to be proper or else the trees would die and there would no point of this undertaking,” Justice Kanade said. The court also noted that the MMRCL should have considered all these aspects of tree cutting and how to avoid it at the planning stage itself. “At the planning stage itself you (MMRCL) should have been careful and seen to it that no mangroves need to be cut,” Justice Kanade said. To this, MMRCL advocate Kiran Bagalia said the authority had zeroed in on the land at Bandra Kurla Complex as alternative land in Kurla was under litigation.
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Over 5,000 trees are proposed to be cut in various areas of south Mumbai to pave way for the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro line III project. The 33-km line III project is a part of the Metro system, which will connect the Cuffe Parade business district in south Mumbai to SEEPZ in the city’s north-central suburb.