Bombay HC Allows Cutting Of 20,000 Mangrove Trees For Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project

The Bombay High Court allowed it owing to its 'public importance'. In its petition, NHSRCL said assured that the number of mangroves won't be reduced for the project and that it would plant five times the total trees that were earlier planned to be felled.

Bombay HC Allows Cutting Of 20,000 Mangrove Trees For Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train Project
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THE Bombay High Court on Friday allowed the National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) to cut nearly 20,000 mangrove trees in the city and the neighbouring districts of Palghar and Thane for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja permitted the plea filed by the NHSRCL seeking permission to cut the mangrove trees.

They allowed it to be completed owing to its "public importance", subject to seven conditions, reported Live Law. A detailed copy of the order is still awaited.

According to a 2018 order from the high court, there is a "total freeze" on the destruction of mangroves across the state. However, in case of a project in the public interest, permission is needed to be sought from the high court felling the mangroves.

"A 50-meter buffer zone should be created around the area that hosts the mangroves and no construction activity or dumping of debris can be permitted within this buffer zone", said the order.

NHSRCL in its petition filed in 2022 assured the court that the number of mangroves won't be reduced for the project and that it would plant five times the total trees that were earlier planned to be felled.

The plea, however, was opposed by 'Bombay Environmental Action Group', an NGO, on the ground that no study was conducted about the survival rate of saplings to be planted as a compensatory measure and the Environmental Impact Assessment report for felling trees has not been provided.

The NHSRCL had dismissed the objections and had claimed that it had availed the needed permissions for the felling of trees required for the project and that it would reimburse the loss due to the same by planting saplings as directed.

The 508-kilometer high-speed rail corridor between Ahmedabad and Mumbai is expected to cut travel time from six-and-a-half hours to two-and-a-half hours.

The bullet train project received a major push after the Eknath Shinde-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power in June this year. The dispensation has given all approvals for this project, the foundation of which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2017.

(With inputs from agency)

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