119 Of 125 Trees Cut For Mumbai Metro Line 3 Stations To Be Restored

Mumbai Metro's tree replacement plan faces scrutiny as the survival rate of transplanted trees remains low.

119 Of 125 Trees Cut For Mumbai Metro Line 3 Stations To Be Restored
(File Image)

Mumbai Metro 3 Line project led to the uprooting of 257 trees. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRCL) has now proposed to a Bombay High Court (HC) committee that it will replace only 119 of the total 257 trees. 

The Bombay High Court formed a committee in response to concerns raised by activists Zoru Bhathena, Nina Verma, and Parvin Jehangir. The committee was led by Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Sarang Kotwal. 

The committee was formed to investigate any irregularities in the tree removal process. If any were found, the case would be brought back before the court.

The Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) conducted site visits with MMRCL staff and petitioners. Their report highlighted that no trees had been planted as per the proposed plan.

The report also pointed out that there was no space left on footpaths for replanting trees. At Grant Road, no rehabilitation had taken place despite complete tree cover on both sides of the street.

MMRCL has stated that plantations cannot begin until construction is completed. They assured the court that the plantation will be completed in six months and that it will take four months to geotag the replanted and moved trees.

Despite MMRCL's claims of geotagging and QR code implementation, the report states that adequate geotagging has not been carried out. 

Earlier on April 17, 2023, the Supreme Court fined MMRCL INR 10 lakh. A bench of three, led by CJI DY Chandrachud, slapped the fine on MMRCL for asking for permission to fell or transplant 177 trees. Whereas, the Supreme Court had earlier allowed it to fall only 84 trees.

Later in October 9, last year, a Bombay High Court committee emphasised that until the Metro-3 car shed project is finished, MMRCL must care for the transplanted trees until the project's completion. The panel expressed concern about the low survival rate of the transplanted trees, which was just over 35%.

On December 19, 2023, MMRCL stated that they could only replant 40% of the trees due to space constraints at the station sites. Consequently, a panel was instructed to inspect four Metro stations and report on any issues.

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