Observing that environment cannot be massacred in name of development, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation to prove it did not damage a children park while executing its Line III project.
A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni gave this order while hearing pleas of the Churchgate and Cuffe Parade residents of South Mumbai challenging the proposed felling of over 5,000 trees to execute the Seepz- Colaba Metro Line III project. The high court had earlier directed the MMRCL not to cut any tree till further orders.
Asdvocates Iqbal Chagla and Janak Dwarkadas, the counsel for the petitioners today told the court that the MMRCL had destroyed a children’s park in Cuffe Parade for digging work despite the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) refusing permission to them to carry out any work there since the area falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).
Advocate Kiran Bagaria, appearing for the MMRCL, told the court that the park has not been damaged and that no work is being carried out in the park as part of the project. The court said the MMRCL will have to submit all documents, including its proposals and resolution of meetings, to substantiate its claim.
“Submit all relevant documents before us. Just saying you (MMRCL) have not done anything wrong on affidavit is not enough. We want to see all relevant documents. No details are forthcoming in the affidavit regarding meetings held by MMRCL pertaining to CRZ obstacles,” the court said.
“We understand that the Metro project is of utmost importance as it will ease the common man’s woes but you (MMRCL) cannot massacre environment in the name of development. There should not be callousness and recklessness in damaging something that cannot be restored,” Chief Justice Chellur said.
The court has directed MMRDA and MMRCL to submit all the documents on April 24 when it will hear the petition.
The line III Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ project is a part of the Metro system which will connect Cuffe Parade business district in south Mumbai to SEEPZ in the north central suburb.