Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project: Before deciding on a plea seeking elimination of mangroves in order to pave way for upcoming India’s first – Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, the Bombay High Court recently said that it will have to hear environmental experts. A division bench of Justice N M Jamdar and Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog was hearing an application filed by the firm implementing the bullet train project – National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL). The corporation has been seeking permission to cut mangroves spread over an area of 13 hectares, according to a PTI report.
In the month of March this year, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority had told the Bombay High Court that it had given its approval for cutting over 53,000 mangrove trees for the high-speed bullet train project. The NHSRCL, in April this year, told the court that it had received the approval of the expert appraisal committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for the elimination of mangroves in the districts of Navi Mumbai, Thane, and Palghar.
However, the division bench noted that it will first have to hear the arguments of the environmental experts before granting its nod. Chief Justice Nandrajog was quoted in the report asking that if for every public project, permissions are granted like this, then what will be their impact on the environment. The bench said that NGO Bombay Environment Action Group should be made a party respondent in the matter and posted for hearing in the month of August, the report said.
The 508-km long Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is expected to reduce the travel time between both the cities from six-and-a-half hours to two-and-a-half hours. En route both the directions, the train will cover 12 stations including Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Vapi, Boisar, Sabarmati, Bharuch, Bilimora, Surat, Vadodara, Anand and Ahmedabad stations. The high-speed train is likely to start operations by 2022-23.