Metro IV: Fate of 5,000 trees to be decided on Tuesday; Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Observing that the green activists must not oppose public utility projects and take them in an adversarial manner, the Bombay High Court on Friday closed for judgment a number of petitions challenging the cutting of over 5,000 trees in neighbouring Thane district, for various developmental projects.

A bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Riyaz Chagla, would on Tuesday decide the fate of various development projects in Thane including the Metro IV line, for which over 1000 trees would be chopped down by the authorities.

Apart from Metro IV line, other projects like the extension of Thane-Diva railway line, Mumbra bypass junction, flyover in Kalyan junction and upgradation of Central Park etc.

All these projects are presented in a fix after the HC bench led by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog had imposed a stay on cutting of trees for any development work in Thane.

The bench led by Justice Dharmadhikari had last month vacated the stay on an application filed by the Metro authority, however, activist Rohit Joshi moved the SC. The top court remanded the matter back to the bench of Justice Dharmadhikari to hear it afresh and dispose of it expeditiously.

When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, the bench asked the green activists to be positive in such issues.

“You (activists) just cannot take an adversarial stand always. These are public utility matters, which affect the public at large. Instead of opposing the projects you should help the authorities in ensuring that the trees to be planted (as compensation for cutting) at the right site,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.

“You should go and inspect the sites, where the authorities are planning to transplant and plant more trees. If you are not satisfied by those sites to suggest the authorities alternative sites and techniques,” the judges said.

The bench also asked the activists to consider the sufferings of commuters, who travel via train on a daily basis from Thane to Mumbai and other areas, for livelihood.