Kolkata, Nov 17 (The Street Press India) – On Friday, the Calcutta High Court said that the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) can’t remove any trees in the Maidan area of the city at the moment. This decision is related to building the Victoria Metro station for the Joka-Esplanade line.
The court mentioned that there’s no evidence suggesting that the project has been halted by a previous vacation bench order. RVNL doesn’t need to worry about any concerns in this regard.
Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam, leading a division bench, noted that currently, RVNL is not allowed to remove any trees in the Maidan area. They also can’t transplant trees since they haven’t obtained permission from the appropriate authorities yet.
The petitioner approached the high court, expressing concern that several trees in the area were being uprooted for the station’s construction, impacting the city’s ecology.
On October 26, a vacation bench issued an interim order restraining RVNL from uprooting trees in the Maidan area. This restriction will remain in place until RVNL and the Union Ministry of Environment submit their respective affidavits.
RVNL submitted its opposing affidavit and requested the bench, led by Chief Justice, to lift the interim order.
The bench, including Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, instructed the West Bengal government, State Heritage Commission, Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Bengal Area, of the Army to submit affidavits outlining their positions on the PIL.
The court, on its own initiative, included the state’s forest department in the case. It instructed RVNL to submit an additional affidavit with more documents and allowed the petitioner to file a supplementary affidavit to present specific facts.
The court mandated that the concerned authorities submit their affidavits by December 7, with the petitioner’s reply due by December 15. The next hearing for the matter is scheduled for December 19. RVNL, in its application, stated that the Defense authorities have granted land and working permission for the construction of the underground station.
RVNL mentioned that they have submitted an application to Defense authorities seeking permission for the transplantation of trees within the construction area. They clarified that after obtaining approval from Defense authorities, they plan to seek permission from forest authorities for the tree transplantation.
The counsel for RVNL emphasized that only the land has been marked off for the proposed Victoria Metro station, and there is no consideration of construction until the No Objection Certificate (NOC) is granted.
The court acknowledged the RVNL counsel’s statement, affirming that RVNL currently lacks the authorization to uproot any trees in the Maidan area, as the required permissions are still pending.