The Bombay high court (HC) has allowed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to cut 86 mangroves in Parigachi Khadi for the construction of six piers of the Mumbai Metro Line-2B, which connects DN Nagar in Andheri to Mandale. MMRDA has pledged to plant 4,400 mangroves and deposited the amount required for compensatory afforestation.
“We are convinced that Metro Line-2B project is carried out in public interest,” said a bench of justice SJ Kathawalla and justice Madhav Jamdar last week while giving the go-ahead.
The bench took into consideration the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority’s November 2018 clearance for the construction in the mangroves forest and the Union environment ministry’s approval for it in January.
MMRDA moved the court after the latter in September 2018 held that mangroves cannot be permitted to be destructed unless the work is necessary for the public good or is in the public interest. It said about 111 square metres of forest land were permanently required for the construction of the six piers. About 1,860 square metres area around the piers was needed temporarily to enable their construction.
MMRDA assured the court it will restore the temporary area to its original condition once the construction is completed, and abide by the Union ministry’s conditions for approving the proposal.
Mumbai Metro Line-2B is a 23.64 km long elevated corridor which will have 22 stations. The corridor will reduce travel time between the eastern and western suburbs by 40 to 55 minutes. It will result in a 30 to 35℅ consequent reduction in vehicular traffic.
MMRDA has argued that apart from providing eco-friendly transportation, the Metro Rail project is also expected to reduce emission, improve traffic conditions in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, and save precious fuel.