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Bullet Train project: Bombay High Court approves felling of around 22,000 mangrove trees

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The Bombay High Court gave its nod on Friday to felling of 21,997 mangrove trees in Mumbai, Palghar and Thane, in order to pave way for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.

The order was passed by the Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Abhay Ahuja on a petition filed by the National High Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL) in 2020.

An NGO, Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG), has filed an intervention application in the matter against the felling of trees.

The High Court gave green signal to the project, while taking into consideration its public importance, albeit with certain conditions.

Earlier on December 1, 2020, the court had reserved its order on the plea.

On suggestions of the Apex Court to reduce the number of mangroves required to be cut for the project, the company, represented by Advocates Pralhad Paranjape and Manish Kelkar, contended that they had reduced the number of mangroves to be felled from 53,467 to 21,997.

The petitioner apprised the top court of the country that it would plant five times the number of mangroves to be felled. 

As per  NHSRCL, it had complied with the request made by the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest as well, seeking a shift in alignment to save the affected trees.

However, BEAG contended that NHSRCL could not use explosives in the prohibited areas and no relaxation should be granted.

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