NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the drastic loss of green cover, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would want to involve economists and environmentalists in a scientific study to examine the value of a tree and of the quantum of oxygen it gives out during its lifespan.
A bench headed by CJI S A Bobde said, “One of the experts studied developmental economics, we need an economist. This is the third case of similar nature, which has been brought before us, the other two are construction of a metro shed and coastal road in Mumbai....the cost involved is enormous. People are not willing to explore alternatives. There could be a way to create a path without felling of trees. It might be a little more expensive, but it would be better.”
The observation came while hearinga plea related to felling of trees for construction of a foot overbridge at West Bengal-Bangladesh border.Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the state government, defended the development, saying there were around 800 deaths near the railway lines which forced the government to consider a 4-km-long foot overbridge.The bench observed that the valuation should be taken into account while estimating cost of projects, which includes felling of trees for developmental activity and said, “The best solution is to avoid cutting trees.”
Prashant Bhushan, representing an NGO which moved the court against the felling of trees, said the environment and climate may take a turn for the very worse in another 50 years, as it is likely that temperatures will rise and felling of trees would have a role to play in it. The CJI responded, “It is believable, very believable.”The court has slated the hearing after four week by which time it hopes that the committee would be ready with the report.