In the backdrop of the rapid deforestation in the country, the Supreme Court on Tuesday emphasized on the importance of green cover and said that it must be preserved. The remark by Supreme Court came while hearing a plea on the cutting of trees in connection with the construction of foot over bridge on the India-Bangladesh border by West Bengal state government. The Apex Court observed that the green cover must be preserved but people were not willing to explore alternatives.
"There could be a way to create a path without cutting trees. It might be a little more expensive, but if you value the property, it would be better," the bench added.
The court was hearing a plea filed by Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) on the felling of over 350 trees for the construction of railway over bridges (ROB) and widening of National Highway-112 from Barasat to Petrapole on the Indo-Bangladesh border in West Bengal.
During the hearing, the court observed the rapid deforestation and raised an alarm that greenery might vanish if people don't start taking it seriously, "We would like to see if we can lay down some principles or some suggestions. The deterioration is so rapid that before anybody knows many things will be permanently gone."
The Chief Justice also cited incidents of Metro car shed and the proposed coastal road in Mumbai which have been in the news for allegedly causing environmental damage.
"Address us on what is to be done, this is the 3rd-4th case I am hearing... Bombay metro shed, coastal road etc," Chief Justice Bobde said.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing for petitioner APDR said that the environment/climate may take a turn for the very worse in another 50 years to which the Chief Justice agreed saying "It is very believable". Bhushan added that the human species will be in danger in the next 10-20 years if the vegetation is not protected while alleging that permissions were granted to fell trees without exploring alternatives. Bhushan asserted that underpasses could be an alternative instead of railway over bridges and alignment of roads could be changed to avoid cutting of trees.
However, the West Bengal government in its defence stated that Calcutta High Court had gone into all the aspects after which it granted permission to fell 356 trees, which is required for the construction of ROBs and widening of the road.
(With ANI inputs)