Both the Chief Minister and the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court shared their views on the felling of trees for construction of the metro - a matter that has seen citizens seeking interference of the court.
Speaking on the issue of transplanting of trees, the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Justice Manjula Chellur said, "There is a procedure to have five new trees for every one tree felled. Did anyone check whether those five trees really sustained and did grow? Will anyone go and check that those trees planted in place of the one tree that was cut is developing and existing?"
Justice Chellur said that the strict compliance mechanism was needed to ensure the beautiful vision/plan for the city was implemented.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he wondered how the court was handling the litigation on the issue. "One PIL wanted her (Chief Justice Majula Chellur) to restrict construction at night. Another PIL wanted her to restrain the construction of the metro in the daytime. I don't know how you deal with it!"
Mr Fadnavis said that the public at large understands that metro is a clean public transport. "They understand that it would eliminate a lot of traffic from the road which is polluting the air, so they're supporting it," he said.
The Chief Minister also reiterated his government's commitment to sustainable development. "Today the biggest problem for the government is the agrarian crisis. The agrarian crisis is an offshoot of the climate change. Either rainfall is delayed or there is a gap of long periods between days of rains and this has caused huge stress on crops. We are facing all these things due to climate change so I think it's the biggest concern of the government and sustainability is our commitment," he said.
Justice D Y Chandrachud, Judge of the Supreme Court, who also attended the event, asked the people to focus on the positives. "I would rather place before you today the image of Maharashtra. The image which is represented by the world's largest beach clean-up project as the United Nations Environmental Programme, where the beach at Versova was transformed by a young Afroz Shah who together with his volunteers ranging from celebrities to ordinary citizens, those who resided in the slums, the politicians, who picked up as much as 5.3 million kilograms of decomposed trash from a 2.5 km stretch of the beach in a period of 21 months. I think that we must focus on the positives, in so far as the relationship of the environment, the Government, and the Judiciary as well as the civil society which is concerned."