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Bullet train: HC wants to hear experts for decision on cutting mangroves

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Bombay High Court Wednesday said it will have to hear environmental experts before deciding on a plea seeking hacking of mangroves to pave way for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.

A division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice N M Jamdar was hearing an application filed by the National High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), seeking permission to cut mangroves spread over 13 hectares of area. In March this year, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority had told the court that it had given its nod for cutting over 53,000 mangrove trees for the project.

In April this year, the NHSRCL informed the court that it had received the approval of the expert appraisal committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for removal of mangroves in Thane, Navi Mumbai and Palghar districts. However, the bench Wednesday noted that before granting its nod, it will have to first hear arguments of the environmental experts. "If permissions are granted like this for every public project, then what will be the impact on the environment?" Chief Justice Nandrajog said.

The bench directed for NGO Bombay Environment Action Group to be made a party respondent in the matter and posted it for hearing in August.

The 508-km high speed rail corridor is expected to cut travel time from six-and-a-half hours to two-and-a-half hours.

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