MUMBAI: The Bombay high court permitted cutting of 357 mangrove trees to make way for Bhakti Park Metro station on Metro Line 4 which connects Wadala-Ghatkopar-Mulund-Thane-Kasawadawali. A bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla pronouncing the order on Wednesday said, “We are convinced beyond any doubt that construction of Metro line-4 is a project of immense public importance from point of view of public transport.”
The HC also permitted proposed construction of 48 piers for the Metro alignment covering 1200 Sq meters and a temporary approach road covering to be used during the construction phase and to be restored later. All these activities would be in Coastal Regulation Zone-II area.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is agency implementing constructing the Metro line 4, had sought HC permission based on an earlier order requiring prior court nod before destruction of any mangroves.
The MMRDA agreed to bear the cost of compensatory afforestation on 1 hectare of degraded forest land, in possession of Mumbai mangrove conservation unit which will plant 4444 mangrove saplings in it.
“This will amount to planting 10 times more than the number destroyed in the Metro project,’’ the HC observed adding that the MMRDA also will pay for afforestation of 0.12 hectare of mangrove forest that will be temporarily destroyed dye to construction of access road to the station.
The MMRDA has “in principle” approval from the Environment ministry in March 2020 under the Forest (Conservation) Act.