Supreme Court stops felling of trees

Supreme Court stops felling of trees
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Maharashtra government says whatever required has been done

New Delhi/Mumbai : The Supreme Court on Monday restrained authorities from cutting any more trees in Mumbai's Aarey colony for a Metro car shed but its order came amid an admission by the Maharashtra government that whatever was required to be cut has already been done.

The order for status quo was given by a bench specially constituted after the apex court took suo motu (on its own) cognisance of a letter petition addressed to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi by law student Rishav Ranjan seeking a stay on felling of trees in the colony.

Rishav Ranjan thanked the Supreme Court for directing the Maharashtra government to ensure that no trees are further axed at Mumbai's Aarey Colony.

The apex court is on a week-long Dussehra break from Monday. The Bombay High Court on October 4 refused to declare Aarey colony a forest and declined to quash the Mumbai municipal corporation's decision to allow felling of over 2,600 trees in the green zone to set up a Metro car shed.

The felling of trees in the colony has been opposed by green activists and local residents. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) started cutting the trees from Friday night to make way for the car shed triggering angry protests, hours after the high court dismissed four petitions filed by NGOs and activists challenging the decision.

As many as 29 protesters were arrested for allegedly obstructing and assaulting police personnel during the felling of trees. They were released from jail in the wee hours of Monday after being granted bail by a local court, officials said.

The prohibitory orders, which were imposed in the Aarey colony area in pursuance to a massive protest, will be in effect till Tuesday morning, the Mumbai Police said on Monday.

Shiv Sena slammed the Central and State government over the "murder" of trees in Mumbai's Aarey Colony, saying none got affected by the "massacre".

Comparing the felling of trees in Mumbai's Aarey Colony with the blazing fire in the Amazon forest, Shiv Sena in its mouthpiece 'Saamana' said that when the latter happened people broke down.

However, here neither the prime minister got emotional, nor the chief minister seemed worried. "Trees don't have the right to vote, so order should be given to 'murder' them. What kind of justice is this?

If the movement to save the 'Aarey' forest had taken place in a European country, in America, then how much praise we would have received for it.

If there is a fire in a forest abroad, then people cry because of it, but the whole forest is being murdered in front of our eyes, neither the PM got emotional, nor was the CM worried for it," the party stated in 'Saamana'.

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