Will suffer a huge loss if tree removal is stopped: RDC

The Road Development Corporation (RDC) has told the Civil Court that it will suffer financial losses if an interim order is issued to stop the felling of trees on Ameenee Magu.

The government contracted the reconstruction of Ameenee Magu to RDC for MVR 84 million in July this year. The practical work of the project commenced on August 30. The trees along both sides of Ameenee Magu are being removed and moved to Kudagiri Picnic Island to facilitate the laying of underground pipes required for the project.

Amid concern from the public over the removal of greenery, Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed, in his personal capacity, filed a lawsuit against RDC and the Planning Ministry, seeking an interim order to stop the felling of trees. The lawsuit asked for an immediate stop to the felling, removal, and damage to the old trees on Ameenee Magu. It also sought an order against the RDC and the Planning Ministry not to remove the trees and continue the road construction work. It also sought a declaration that the continued uprooting of the trees constituted a violation of the Planning Ministry's duty to protect the environment under the Constitution, laws, regulations, and international treaties.

The case was heard in the Civil Court on Thursday. Nasheed is represented by Shunana & Co. LLP. Nasheed's lawyer, Mariyam Shunana, attorneys from the Attorney General's office, and RDC's lawyers were present at the hearing.

RDC's lawyer told the court that if the project had to be stopped, the company would lose more than MVR 100,000 every day. Meanwhile, lawyer Shunana argued that if an interim order is not issued to stop the removal of the trees, the settlement of the case will be interrupted. The state's lawyer said an interim order to stop the removal of the trees would bring the project to a stop.

At Thursday's hearing, the presiding Judge, Mariyam Waheed, said she would decide on the interim order next Sunday.