Fate of 2,238 trees at Aarey to be decided after second public hearing

The Bombay high court (HC) has instructed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) garden department to conduct a second public hearing for the Aarey car shed after the first one had to be wrapped up abruptly. The first public hearing was conducted on October 10 for which hundreds of people turned up to register their suggestions and objections against the felling of 2,238 trees and transplantation of 464 others that are coming in the way of the metro car shed construction. The date and time for the second hearing will be decided by the BMC soon.

The first public hearing saw members of the tribal community, activists, conservationists, and residents of Aarey Colony voice their opinions in front of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) and BMC.

The HC has now directed the civic body to conduct a second hearing as the first one, which was meant to last half an hour, went on for more than two hours as the BMC did not expect so many objectors to turn up.

Petitioner Preeti Menon, Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson said, “The court while giving the order, slammed the BMC for allocating only half an hour for such an important issue. The bigger fight is now to stop the MMRC from illegal cutting the trees. Also, the court has directed the BMC to put up every proposal which has been passed on its website at the earliest and give people enough time to raise objections if any.”

The first public hearing, organised at the Byculla zoo, was conducted by three officers each from the MMRC and BMC. Prior to the meeting, the civic body has already registered 33,000 suggestions and objections, and an additional 7,000 were accepted on the day of the hearing.

The second hearing could possibly mean that the BMC is likely to receive more such letters.

After the hearing, garden superintendent, Jitendra Pardeshi had said that the BMC would send back the proposal to the MMRC with some common objections and suggestions in case the latter wished to send a fresh proposal.

A senior official from the garden department said that the date and time for the second hearing would be decided at the level of the deputy municipal commissioner (DMC) (gardens), Kishor Kshirsagar was unavailable for a comment despite repeated attempts to contact him.

First Published: Oct 18, 2018 23:29 IST

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