Mumbai: The Supreme Court will on Monday take suo motu cognisance of the matter concerning tree felling inside Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, where over 2,000 trees are being axed to give way to the construction of a metro rail yard.

The special bench will hear the matter at 10 AM.

This came after a delegation of students sent a letter to Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asking for his intervention in the matter. The students had written a letter to the CJI on Sunday “requesting SC to take cognizance in Mumbai’s Aarey matter, for a stay in tree-axing undertaken by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai with Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation & Mumbai Police”.

“The present representation is made by a delegation of responsible students who are sorry to disturb you during the vacation but having no other option and in urgency, we came to the guardian of constitution values expecting relief,” the letter reads.

“This letter is for your urgent and kind attention into matter concerning Aarey Forest in Mumbai. We believe that no procedure or technicalities can bar us from coming to Supreme Court, your lordship. (But) By the time an appeal is filed in the Supreme Court, we feel the part of Aarey will be cleared with all trees axed leading to irrevocable loss. As we write this letter to you, the Mumbai authorities continue to kill the lungs of Mumbai by clearing the trees of Aarey forest near Mithi Bank river.”

On Sunday, Mumbai Metro chief Ashwini Bhide defended the tree cutting drive at Aarey Colony saying that ‘to construct something new, some destruction’ is inevitable.

As protests intensified at the project site, Bhide, a senior IAS officer and Managing Director (MD) of the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) tweeted, “Sometimes to construct something new destruction becomes inevitable but it also paves the way for new life and new creation.”

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said that his government, if voted back to power, will “deal with the murderers of Aarey forest in the best possible manner”.

Uddhav’s son Aaditya Thackeray had also criticised the move the same day, saying “Detaining citizens and arresting youth for standing with environment. So much for speaking about environment at the global level while we destroy ecosystems here in the middle of the night.”