SC unhappy with fund use for Taj zone green project

Noting its unhappiness with the Uttar Pradesh government, the Supreme Court on Monday came to the brink of ordering a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in its utilisation of funds meant for compensatory afforestation at the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) in Agra.

“We are not happy with the way the State government has dealt with the question of compensatory afforestation. There is a large gap between the saplings required and the actual plantation,” a Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and C. Nagappan observed.

Justice Thakur considered directing a CBI probe into the “irregularities,” but said the court would give the government one last opportunity to fulfil its commitment to plant saplings to replace trees felled across the land spread over several hundred hectares.

It said the only explanation for “discrepancy and failure” from the officials was non-release of funds. Calling their attitude “cavalier,” the court asked why these officials could not have approached the court had their intentions been in earnest. A Bench gave the State four weeks to comply with its orders. The State’s Additional Advocate-General Gaurav Bhatia promised that the court orders would be complied with and a better affidavit, removing all discrepancies on the number of trees uprooted and the number of trees planted.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on April 27.

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