Mumbai: Thousands of trees will be cut in Mumbai for the Metro project that is being constructed. For a city that has negligible green cover and urgently requires mass rapid transport systems like the Metro, it's a choice between the devil and the deep blue sea. And Mumbaikars are divided on the issue.
Even though massive trees, some over a hundred years old, are being cut across the city, officials in charge of the metro project say environmental concerns have been adequately addressed.
But citizens like Frodo Bhujwala believe the authorities are not thinking about the cost of cutting so many old trees and causing permanent damage. They add, a Rs 23,000 crore project could have been better planned to save more trees.
Churchgate resident Soheila Jalali says, "It's just that the way things have been planned, it's very crass. In some places they are using the tunneling method which actually should not require the cutting of trees. I feel that there's a lack of information on why 5,000 trees need to be cut."
But there are citizens who feel that cutting trees for speedy implementation is a necessary evil for a city like Mumbai. In a city where ten people die on the suburban railway tracks every day, the metro will ease off the pressure on the clogged and congested Western Express Highway. They say the government's promise to replace the trees cut should take care of environmental concerns.
The Supreme Court has asked citizens who oppose the cutting of trees to place their grievances before a two-judge committee of the Bombay High Court and the High Court has lifted the stay on cutting of trees.
Advocate Sayeed Mulani told NDTV, "As the petitioners are waiting for formation of the committee, the MMRCL continues to cut the trees as there is no interim stay. We are hopeful that once we put our views before the committee we will still be able to save a few trees."
Authorities maintain in the long run the metro will take cars off the street and reduce congestion and air pollution. But there are those who still feel that for a city like Mumbai, perhaps a better balancing act is required.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)