Ameenee Magu tree removal: Decision to be made on Sunday, RDC expects financial loss

Trees planted in Ameenee Magu being cut down for the road's development | Photo: Mihaaru

Malé, Maldives – Road Development Corporation (RDC) has said in Civil Court that the company is likely to sustain financial losses should the court order a temporary order to stop the removal of trees from Ameenee Magu.

In the case submitted to the court by Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed who seeks to stop the removal of road side trees at Ameenee Magu to make way for the development of the road, today’s hearing focused on the temporary order sought by Nasheed’s legal team. The temporary order, if successful will halt the process until the court makes a final decision on whether or not the trees can be removed.

Nasheed, who is being represented by Shunana and Co., argues that other avenues were not explored before starting to remove the trees and that while it would be possible to develop the road around the trees, removing them goes against the country’s constitution and international treaties the country is party to. Shunana also argued that if a temporary order is not granted, the purpose of the lawsuit would be moot, as the trees may completely be removed by the time a final verdict is declared.

RDC also argued in defence stating that the issuing of a temporary order would cause the company to incur financial losses as the work is being carried out with various parties under contract, utilising equipment which have been paid for, for a certain period of time. In detail, he revealed that the loss would go beyond MVR 100,000 per day.

Shunana, on the other hand, argued that while it is the state’s responsibility to study and confirm the environmental and health impacts on removing the trees on the public and the environment as a whole, the state failed to fulfil its responsibility. Shunana also stated that the removal of trees would cause irreparable damage to the environment.

The state, then argued that they do not believe that the removal of trees would cause any such irreparable damage as planting trees from the cuttings of the trees in other areas would increase the number of trees.

Following the three hour hearing, presiding Judge Mariyam Waheed stated that a final decision on the temporary order will be made on Sunday and that both parties would be notified of the decision.

Previously, the President’s Office also stated that the trees are being removed as the trees on the road are damaging the pipes and cables buried in the area, and that the trees will be relocated to another region for replanting.