Calcutta HC upholds interim stay on felling of trees for Kolkata metro expansion

by IANS |

Kolkata, Nov 17 (IANS) A division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Friday upheld an order of another division bench of the same court putting a stay on the cutting down of trees in the Maidan area of central Kolkata, considered as the lungs of the city, for the purpose of expansion of metro railways in the state capital.

The division bench of Chief Justice T.S. Sivagnanam and Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharya observed that first it would like to hear the arguments of the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change in the matter and then only come to a conclusion.

The division bench also directed that the state forest department should also be made a party in the matter since the permission of that department is necessary for cutting down trees.

The division bench also observed that it will take the final decision only after hearing all sides concerned. The next hearing in the matter has been scheduled for December 19.

“We are not against the metro railways project. This is not a luxury. Rather it is an essential mode of public transport. The fact that metro railways will move under the River Ganges is really a matter of pride. So this is just an interim stay,” the Chief Justice observed.

The interim stay on the cutting down of trees in the Maidan area was first ordered by Calcutta High Court’s another division bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya and Justice Bibhas Ranjan De on October 26. That division bench ordered this interim stay on a PIL filed by an organisation in the name and style of People United for Better Living in Kolkata.

The organisation argued if so many trees are cut down at the virtual lungs of Kolkata, the pollution level will rise and the environment will be at stake.

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