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Bombay HC allows cutting of 22k trees for bullet train project

09:55 PM Dec 09, 2022 IST | greport2018
bombay hc allows cutting of 22k trees for bullet train project

On December 9, 2022, the Bombay High Court granted permission to fell nearly 22,000 mangrove trees in Mumbai, Thane and Palghar for the upcoming bullet train from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, ‘in the public interest’ subject to several conditions.

A bench from the division of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja was listening to a statement submitted by the National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRC) seeking permission to fell trees for the project. In September 2018, a divisional caucus headed by Judge Abhay Oka placed ‘a total freeze on mangrove destruction and felling throughout the state.’


The order also said: “The State may not allow the destruction of mangroves for private, commercial or other use unless the court deems it necessary for the public good or public interest.”

A non-governmental organization, the Bombay Environment Action Group, opposed the request, claiming that no research had been carried out into the likelihood that the saplings planted as a remedy would survive.


According to LiveLaw, the bank had previously asked NHSRCL to reduce the number of mangroves required to be cut for the project.


Mangroves play a crucial role in preventing flooding, especially in low-lying areas, but they also play an important role in mitigating emissions. Mangroves absorb five times more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than tropical rainforests.


In its petition filed in 2020, the NHSRCL had assured the court that it would plant five times the total number of mangroves it had previously proposed to cut. The number would not be reduced even though fewer trees will be felled.


Bombay Environmental Action Group, an NGO, opposed the petition because no study was done on the survival rate of the saplings to be planted as a compensatory measure and the environmental impact assessment report for the felling of trees was not provided.

The NHSRCL had rejected the objections raised by the NGO, stating that it had obtained the required approvals for the felling of trees for the project of public importance and that it would compensate for the loss that occurred due to the planting of saplings as directed.


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