Instead of playing computer games, students can plant trees: HC to PMC

Bombay High Court suggested Pune Municipal Corporation to take help of school and college students for replanting trees which shall be cut for road widening project on Mumbai Bangalore highway.

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday suggested the Pune Municipal Corporation to take the help of school and college students for replanting of those trees which shall be cut for the road widening project on the 800-km Mumbai Bangalore highway.

A division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Amjad Sayed was hearing an application filed by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) seeking permission to cut 1,307 trees falling in the jurisdiction of the Pune civic body for widening the highway from four lanes to six lanes.

The court`s suggestion came when it was informed that neither the NHAI nor the Pune civic body was willing to undertake the task of replanting trees.

"Why don`t you (PMC) take the help of students of schools and colleges. They must be free now during summer vacations. Instead of spending time playing computer games they (students) can plant trees," Justice Chandrachud said.

During the last hearing, the court had asked NHAI, PMC and the state forest department to hold a meeting and come to a consensus on the amount of money that needs to be deposited and if another area can be earmarked for replanting of the trees.

The bench was today informed by advocate Ashutosh Kumbakoni, appearing for the PMC, that the NHAI has asked the corporation to undertake the task of cutting and replanting trees for which money would be given.

However, the corporation is also unwilling to undertake the job.

The corporation is now planning to appoint an independent agency to cut and replant trees in an area that will be earmarked by the forest department.

The court has posted the matter for further hearing next week.

The NHAI had approached the court as a May 2009 order of the High Court banned cutting of trees in the Pune municipal area.

According to NHAI, the Rs 1,700 crore highway project commenced in October 2010 and was to be completed by March this year. However, due to the ban of tree cutting, the road widening at the Pune stretch could not be done.