The Bombay High Court Monday told the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other state authorities in Maharashtra to ensure that the implementation of the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls did not bring the administration to a halt.
"Code of doesn't mean you stop all work. All necessary work must continue going on," the bench said.
It was hearing a petition seeking, among other things, directions to the BMC to appoint experts to its Tree Authority that holds the power to grant permissions for felling of trees for development projects.
The bench asked the BMC about the status of such appointments.
The civic body's counsel, advocate Anil Sakhre, however, sought time to respond to the court's query and said that while the appointments were to be finalised this week, they might be affected by the model code of conduct coming into force.
At this, the bench said the appointments to the tree committee must not be affected by the code of conduct (which came into effect Sunday and will remain in force for over a month).
"How does the Tree Authority get affected? Everything doesn't stop because of the code of conduct. Will you stop your TBMs (tunnel boring machines that is being used for metro construction across Mumbai)? Ensure that what is necessary does not come to a halt," the bench said.
It also directed the BMC and the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) to inform the court how successfully they were able to transplant and translocate trees that were felled for the Metro and other development projects.
The direction came after one of the petitioners, activist Zoru Bhatena, said the practice of translocating trees was problematic since in most cases, the authorities felled trees from a certain area, destroying its green cover, and then translocated them 20 km away or even farther.
At this, the bench suggested that the BMC and the MMRDA make use of technology to see if such trees could be replanted at a site closer to the one from where they were felled.
"This is an important point raised by the petitioner. You must try to maintain a balance between the environment and new development," the bench observed.
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