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Calcutta HC dismisses plea to halt metro rail work in Maidan, clears path for Joka-Esplanade project

The bench, also comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, said in the judgement delivered on Thursday it is 'fully convinced' that requisite permission has been obtained by RVNL for the purpose of transplantation/felling of trees

PTI Calcutta Published 20.06.24, 07:32 PM
Calcutta High Court.

Calcutta High Court. File picture.

Paving the way for completion of the Joka-Esplanade metro railway project, the Calcutta High Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition, which sought a stop to all construction by the Metro Rail authorities in the Maidan area here over environmental concerns.

Permitting Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) to proceed with the project, a division bench presided by Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam dismissed the petition that prayed for an order to stop the construction of the Joka-Esplanade metro project in the Maidan area, adjoining the iconic Victoria Memorial.

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The bench, also comprising Justice Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, said in the judgement delivered on Thursday it is "fully convinced" that requisite permission has been obtained by RVNL for the purpose of transplantation/felling of trees.

Observing that such permission cannot be stated to be either arbitrary or unreasonable as those are subject to certain stringent conditions, the court said the petitioner has not made out any case to interfere with the implementation of the project in question.

The 16.7-km Joka-Esplanade metro project will have a 5.05-km underground stretch from Khidirpur to Esplanade, an official said.

The Metro Rail stated before the court that the Railway Board changed the scheme of metro construction in the Maidan area, considered to be the lung of Calcutta, from viaduct to underground to maintain its ecology and skyline, despite incurring five times more cost for construction.

The petitioner, an NGO, had expressed apprehension that the expression “transplant” is being euphemistically used when in reality trees will be felled, as transplanting such ancient and enormous trees was almost impossible and the survival rate likely to be negligible.

Construction work for the proposed Victoria Metro Station has already commenced, and a part of the Maidan near the Victoria Memorial was cordoned off and machinery brought in.

The Metro Rail told the court that for construction of underground metro, including three stations - Victoria Memorial, Park Street and Esplanade - within the Maidan area, modification of the scheme from viaduct to underground was approved by the Railway Board to avoid any effect to the surface features and for transplantation and plantation of trees.

The Joka-Esplanade metro project is partially operational between Joka and Majerhat stations in the south-western suburbs of Calcutta. Completion of the project will provide an important and time-saving connectivity option to people from these places to the heart of the city.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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