Other States

NGT warns U.P. against illegal activity near Taj

: The National Green Tribunal on Monday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that no unauthorised construction activities are permitted and no trees cut in the eco-sensitive zone near the Taj Mahal.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the State government to conduct physical demarcation of the forest area and the green belt within 500 metres of the Taj Tapezium Zone. The green panel also directed that the demarcation activity shall be executed in the presence of representative from Forest Survey of India (FSI) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

“We direct that State will ensure no felling of trees or removal of any kind of greenery from the Taj Tapezium Zone. It shall also ensure no unauthorised and illegal construction activities are permitted to come within this area till the next date of hearing,” the bench said while posting the matter for September 10.

The Tribunal’s direction came after perusing an inspection report by advocate M C Mehta, who was appointed as local commissioner to probe into the alleged illegal felling and sale of 4,000 trees in the eco—sensitive zone in Agra.

According to the local commissioner, there has been removal of forest area for which he placed various Google images in support of the report.

He also said that further study would be required with the aid of the specialised agency to submit a final report.

Mehta told the Tribunal that the area which has been affected by the deforestation is within 500 meters of the Taj Tapezium Zone, the green belt area created as directed by the apex court, and adjacent villages of Babarpur and Bainpur.

The inspection report also said that builders have started raising huge constructions in these areas, even on the bank of river Yamuna.

However, Advocate General Vijay Bahadur Singh, appearing for the State, said that only bushes have been removed.

He said the state would file a detailed reply in this regard.

The Tribunal had earlier directed an inquiry into the alleged illegal felling and sale of 4,000 trees after taking note of a newspaper report, and issued a notice to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Uttar Pradesh government.

The Tribunal, which had also issued notice to the newspaper correspondent on whose report the bench had taken suo motu cognisance of the case, was allowed to file documents in support of her report.

According to the newspaper report, a former Agra DFO had allegedly cut 8,000 trees in Babarpur and around 4,000 trees in 500-metre-radius of the Taj Mahal, which is an eco-sensitive zone.

The Uttar Pradesh government had told the bench that the newspaper report on which the Tribunal has issued notice to the state government claiming that 4,000 trees have been cut and sold was a “mischievous act” and factually incorrect.

— PTI



The Tribunal has told the UP government to conduct physical demarcation of the forest area and the green belt within

500 metres of the

Taj Tapezium Zone



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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 2:05:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ngt-warns-up-against-illegal-activity-near-taj/article7523793.ece

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