The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) got permission from the Bombay High Court to cut 357 mangroves. This is for the construction of Metro piers at Sewri and Bhakti Park station. It is a part of the under-construction Metro Line-4 which connects Wadala in eastern suburbs to Kasarwadavli on Ghodbunder road in Thane district.
The court imposed some conditions to compensate for the environmental loss. The MMRDA has deposited the amount for compensatory reforestation on 1 hectare of degraded forest land and has pledged to plant around 4400 mangroves at Gorai. They’ll fund it completely for 10 years.
The HC observed, “This will amount to planting 10 times more than the number destroyed in the Metro project.’’
A two-member high court bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice Riyaz Chagla took into consideration the Union Environment Ministry’s approval for it in January and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority’s clearance for the construction in the mangroves forest in November 2018.
Last week while giving permission the bench 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.” It also directed the MMRDA to construct a temporary road for carrying out the construction work.
The bench has directed the metro authority to obey the conditions imposed by authorities and it observed that the development of Metro Line-4 has public importance in terms of public transport.
The HC also permitted the proposed construction of 48 piers for the Metro covering 1200 sq meters. Also, a temporary approach for road covering is to be used during the construction phase and restored later. All these activities would be done in Coastal Regulation Zone-II area.
The court officials had earlier prohibited the development work in mangrove forests. A 50-metre neutral territory around the mangroves until the court found that this work is important keeping in mind the benefits it would provide to the people.
The MMRDA said that currently, over 12 million people travel every day through the railways and the local buses in Mumbai. These Metro networks will ensure that it will not only provide eco-friendly transportation but will also reduce emission, improve traffic conditions and save fuel in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
However, the MMRDA needs to implement the commitment that they’ve made in the high court of planting the saplings and hence complete this project for the benefit of the people.