Mumbai: The environment activists on Friday night claimed that the authorities have defied the 15-day waiting period and started axing of over 2,500 trees in Aarey Colony of Mumbai. The felling of trees started at around 9 PM, on the same day when the Bombay High Court dismissed as many as four petitions challenging the cutting of trees.

The social media users have uploaded the video of the tree felling on Twitter criticizing the authorities for defying the 15-day waiting period. The activists said that the tree chopping is illegal in nature saying the BMC has still not uploaded the court’s permission on the website. They said once the permission is published, the authorities can cut the trees after a 15-day wait.

The trees are to be cut for the construction of a shed for Mumbai metro with activists opposing and criticizing the Mumbai civic body’s Tree Authority. Bombay High Court’s Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre Friday made it clear that the activists fighting against the felling of trees failed in the instant petition. The court said that it cannot reserve its decision.

The Bombay HC also said that the mater is still pending before the apex court and the National Green Tribunal. In a major setback to the green activists, the court did not declare Aarey Colony a forest area. It also refused to quash Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s decision to allow chopping hundreds of trees. The division bench also dismissed a petition that sought Aarey Colony to be declared a floodplain.

On the other side, the Mumbai Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd and the BMC have stated that the tree cutting is only for the larger interest of the general public saying that the move will reduce pollution after the construction of metro shed. According to the MMRCL, the Aarey Colony is not a forest area as claimed in the petition.



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