The Tree Authority of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday gave its nod to cut over 2,700 trees for a Metro car shed in the leafy Aarey Colony area in Mumbai.
The proposal was cleared at the authority's meeting, chaired by municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, though members from the Shiv Sena opposed it.
A senior civic official said Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL), which is constructing the Metro, put up the proposal to cut 2,232 trees and promised to compensate by planting three times as many trees elsewhere in the city.
"MMRCL also sought permission to remove and re-transplant another 469 trees," the official said, adding that before giving the approval, the members of the authority had inspected the site.
BJP member Manoj Kotak, also the group leader in the civic house, backed the proposal.
"Metro is extremely essential for the city and it is everybody's duty to support infrastructure-related work. In fact, Metro will not only save fuel but will also protect the environment," Mr Kotak told PTI.
Tree authority member and NCP corporator Kaptan Malik said he supported the decision to facilitate infrastructure development.
Shiv Sena youth wing leader Aaditya Thackeray, however, alleged that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had been "misled" on the issue.
"The metro is a good thing, I use the existing one and will use the new one too. However, whoever planned this greenchopping in Mumbai, obviously has no love for our future generations or our city. Has misled the chief minister on its environmental assessment report for Aarey," Mr Thackeray tweeted.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said it was a "betrayal" of trust reposed by Mumbai citizens in the civic authorities.
"We urge Mumbaikars to vote out the parties which are responsible for this decision in assembly elections. We will take this up in the polls," said Ruben Mascarenhas, national Joint Secretary of AAP.
"Both the chief minister and civic chief have admitted that the flooding of Mumbai is a result of climate Change. Sadly, government authorities don''t understand the relation between trees and global warming. 33 hectors of carshed area in Aarey has thousands of indigenous trees, species and also the floodplain of Mithi River," said Amrita Bhattacharjee, who has launched campaign to save the trees in Aarey colony area.