BMC apologises to court on Aarey Colony tree-cutting row

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

The MMRC carried out the tree-cutting work based on the permissions given by the previous tree authority.

A file picture of a peaceful protest against tree-cutting.

Mumbai: Activists have pointed out a foul play over the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) stance on tree cutting in Aarey Milk Colony. After the activists highlighted alleged illegal tree cutting in the Aarey Colony, the BMC has tendered an apology to the Bombay high court. However, it maintained that the civic body has not violated any of HC’s order and the tree cutting permissions were given legally.

The superintendent of Gardens for BMC, Jitendra Pardeshi has stated in an affidavit to the high court that the BMC has not committed any contempt as alleged. “However, in case this Hon’ble court comes to the conclusion that I have violated any orders, I express my unconditional apology (sic),” read the affidavit.

Even as the HC has deemed the earlier permissions given by the Tree Authority (TA) of the BMC as invalid, the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) for Metro Line 3 car shed has removed trees from Aarey Colony. However, the MMRC carried out the tree-cutting work based on the permissions given by the previous tree authority, which has been termed illegal by the high court.

“The tree cutting work has been stopped at the Aarey Colony, as soon as the matter was brought to us. We will be considering the issue of tree-cutting proposals in Aarey as fresh and will grant permissions accordingly after the new tree authority is formed,” said a senior BMC official.  

Presently, the BMC has only selected four independent experts for the TA, and the matter of the new team is pending in the high court.

According to the permission letter, around 235 trees will be removed from the site for proposed ramp area at Sariput Nagar. Earlier this week, around seven trees have been hacked in the Unit 19 of Aarey Milk Colony for the Metro car shed work.