GREAT Victory for Green Activists: SC Orders No More Felling of Trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony

THE Supreme Court of India has issued an interim stay on further felling of trees in Aarey Colony on Mumbai’s outskirts for the proposed car shed for Mumbai Metro 3.The Green activists had approached the apex court after the Mumbai High Court had rejected their plea to stop felling of trees and given go ahead signal to the metro authorities to go ahead with cutting 1,500 trees. Supreme Court asks Maharashtra Government to not cut more trees at the Aarey Colony. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Maharashtra Government assures the bench that henceforth no trees will be cut. The    bench heard the case on Monday. The Supreme Court had on Sunday converted a letter to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi sent by a law student seeking halting of cutting of trees into a public interest litigation (PIL). The Supreme Court has asked the Maharashtra government to ensure that no more trees are cut till October 21 when the matter is taken up again.SC will look into the legality of tree felling in Aarey Colony. The Supreme Court has also asked the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit on the status of the saplings planted. The SC also said it will examine if the area is part of eco-sensitive zone or not. The Maharashtra government has told the Supreme Court that all those arrested for protesting the felling of trees in Aarey have been released. The Supreme Court said if anybody is still under arrest, they should be released forthwith on the furnishing of personal bonds.Clashes had broken out in Mumbai over axing of trees by Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd .Activists were arrested on charges of allegedly obstructing and assaulting. On Sunday, however, 29 protesters were granted bail by a sessions court in Mumbai. The stir continues over felling of over 2,500 trees.  Protest intensified on Saturday amid heavy restrictions leading to the arrests of 29 people and 38 being booked. Several leaders were also detained while protesting. Nearly 1,500 trees were chopped on Day 1 of felling as greens failed to stop officials from carrying out the high court’s orders. Police imposed Section 144 CrPC in Aarey, restricting movements and gathering of groups, and cordoned off the area. Meanwhile, MMRCL claims that it has planted around 24,000 trees across Mumbai including Aarey Milk Colony.

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