Metro-3: SC seeks re­sponse on green ‘dam­age’ at Aarey

Metro cor­po­ra­tion says yet to re­ceive SC no­tice

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - Ye­sha Ko­tak

MUMBAI: The apex court on Fri­day is­sued a no­tice to the Mumbai Metro Rail Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd (MMRCL) and the state gov­ern­ment in the Mumbai Metro car shed case, which has come upon 33 hectares of land at Aarey Colony in Gore­gaon.

A bench of jus­tices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta took cog­ni­sance of the en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age caused to Aarey Colony by the pro­ject and asked the re­spon­dents to get back to the court within six weeks. Un­til then, the work at the car shed will con­tinue.

The pe­ti­tion­ers had filed a spe­cial leave pe­ti­tion in Supreme Court (SC) against the Bom­bay high court (HC) or­der of jus­tices SC Dhar­mad­hikari and PD Naik, in which the HC re­fused to de­clare Aarey a for­est.

“We showed satel­lite im­ages of the site to show the ex­tent of dam­age caused at Aarey, and the bench is con­vinced that there is merit in the case. So the mat­ter would come up for hear­ing again in Jan­uary,” said en­vi­ron­men­tal lawyer Za­man Ali, who is rep­re­sent­ing the pe­ti­tion­ers, one of whom is Mumbai res­i­dent Am­rita Bhattacharjee.

Bhattacharjee has chal­lenged the gov­ern­ment’s 2017 no­ti­fi­ca­tion through which the green patch in­side Aarey Colony has been re­moved from the No De­vel­op­ment Zone to al­low the con­struc­tion of the car shed.

The pe­ti­tion­ers have been ask­ing the court to di­rect the gov­ern­ment to shift the car shed to Kan­jur­marg.

“The ju­di­ciary is the only hope that we have to save our for­est and we are glad that the Supreme Court found merit in the case,” said Stalin Dayanand, pro­ject di­rec­tor of the non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tion, Vanashakti.

How­ever, the spokesper­son for MMRCL said that they have not re­ceived a copy of the no­tice.

“MMRC is yet to re­ceive the no­tice and there is no in­ti­ma­tion of the stay. But, once we re­ceive the no­tice, we will take nec­es­sary le­gal ac­tion,” said the MMRCL spokesper­son.

In Oc­to­ber, the divi­sion bench of the HC had up­held the state’s

AAREY DE­POT SEEPZ de­ci­sion to change the use of the land to a metro car shed for the Mumbai Metro 3 line (Co­lababan­dra-seepz).

Aarey Milk Colony is lo­cated in the north-west­ern sub­urbs of the city and is one of the last nat­u­ral ar­eas in the city out­side the San­jay Gandhi Na­tional Park. It is one of the few wild forests lo­cated within the bound­aries of a metropoli­tan area.

Aarey hosts over 70 species of birds, 86 species of but­ter­flies, rep­tiles and wild­flow­ers.

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