New Delhi, Feb 18 : The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would want to involve economists and environmentalists in conducting a scientific study to examine the value of a tree, taking into account the value of the quantum of oxygen, the tree has given out during its lifespan.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant said in order to ascertain the value of green cover, if possible, it would like to see something more comprehensive.
"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 metro shed and coastal road in Mumbai....the cost involved is enormous", said the Chief Justice.
The observation from the Apex court came during the hearing on felling of heritage trees in connection with the construction of foot overbridge at the West Bengal and Bangladesh border.
The state government has claimed that there were around 800 deaths near the railway lines in the absence of safe crossing over the railway line. In January, the top court had directed setting up of a committee to draw out a balancing act in this situation and asked it to file a report.
The Supreme Court observed that the valuation should be taken into account while estimating cost of projects, which includes felling of trees for the developmental activity.
"The best solution is to avoid cutting trees", said the Chief Justice.
The Chief Justice also expressed concern over development activities having an impact on water bodies.
He cited the interconnected lakes in Nagpur located at different levels in different parts of the city. "I understand you don't have the brains to build new ones (water conservation systems), but you are also destroying the existing ones", said Bobde.
He added that in Nagpur nobody talks about it, and they just let it go.
Prashant Bhushan, representing an NGO, which moved the court against the felling of trees, said the environment/climate may take a turn for the very worse in another 50 years, as it is likely temperatures will rise and felling of trees has a role to play in it. The Chief Justice replied, "it is believable, very believable.."
The court has scheduled the matter for further hearing in four weeks, as the committee report will be available by then.