Mumbai: The state government on Thursday informed the Bombay high court that the metro car shed proposed to be set up at Aarey Colony would not be shifted to Kanjurmarg as such a move was unfeasible. It also said the green belt could not be given a forest tag “just because it has greenery”.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharti Dangre was hearing a petition filed by an NGO, Vanashakti, which demanded that Aarey Colony in suburban Goregaon be declared a forest and an ecologically-sensitive zone.
Activists have been opposing the proposed felling of over 2,600 trees in Aarey to make way for the car shed and demanding the relocation of the depot.
“Aarey cannot be declared a forest just because there is greenery there. Aarey was formed in the past as a milk colony and to keep cattle and horse stables,” Anil Sakhare, the special counsel for the state, told the court. Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni argued that another bench of the high court had in October last year dismissed a similar petition filed by an activist, Zoru Bathena, seeking the forest tag for Aarey.
In the petition, Mr Bathena had also challenged the proposed construction of the car shed. “The high court bench, while rejecting that petition, noted that it was erroneous to term Aarey a forest,” Mr Kumbhakoni said.
An appeal against this order of the high court has been filed in the Supreme Court, where it is pending hearing, the government counsel said.
“When the matter has been already heard and concluded by the high court, it need not be entertained again,” Mr Kumbhakoni argued.