Activists hail SC's stay on cutting of mangroves for bridge in Mumbai

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(Eds: Adding another activist's quote) Mumbai, Apr 1 (PTI) Bridges can be constructed without destroying mangroves, environment activists have said while hailing the Supreme Court's decision to stay cutting of mangroves for the construction of a bridge in Andheri suburb of Mumbai.

The activists are now hopeful that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will redesign the project.

The BMC had planned to construct a bridge connecting the Yari Road junction and Lokhandwala backroad in Versova area of Andheri to reduce vehicular congestion and travel time for citizens.

Some Versova residents had filed a Public Interest Litigation against the project in the Bombay High Court, which dismissed the PIL in December 2020, following which they moved the SC to challenge the order.

The apex court recently stayed the cutting of mangroves in the area for the construction of the bridge.

Talking to PTI, Mumbai-based environment activist Zoru Bhathena hailed the SC's judgement and said the BMC knows that bridges can be built without destroying mangroves or causing damage to the environment.

'All they need is a proper design. We hope they will redesign it (the project) properly,' he said.

Another environment activist Godfrey Pimenta claimed authorities adopt shortcuts without obtaining prior permission in majority of the cases involving the environment and that they feel they are above the law.

'The Supreme Court has correctly restrained the authorities from cutting the mangroves. We welcome the SC's decision,' he said.

Activist Stalin D, however, said 'the respite (from cutting mangroves) is temporary'.

'Too many mangroves have been lost to various projects. It is imperative that the government ensures environmental sustainability in every project. Hollow unscientific promises on paper are used to destroy the coastal ecology,' Stalin said.

He also hailed the SC's decision to overrule the High Court's 'the unjust decision' to impose a fine on citizens fighting for the environment. PTI KK GK ARU ARU