NGT orders ban on cutting trees near Taj Mahal

Agra, Aug 11 (IANS) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has 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.

In its interim order, the NGT on Monday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to set the boundaries of the forest land and reserved forest areas in the 10,400 sq. km Taj Trapezium Zone in Agra, Mathura and Firozabad districts.

The NGT was responding to the M.C. Mehta report on cutting of trees near the Taj Mahal and on forest land in Baburpur village’s Sikandra area.

M.C. Mehta, the commissioner appointed by the NGT, in his interim report said a preliminary survey suggested that there had been “removal of forest area”.

The NGT said “The commissioner further submits 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 Supreme Court of India, and adjacent villages which he visited.

“It is specifically mentioned in the report that builders have started raising huge constructions in these areas and even on the bank of river Yamuna.”

The NGT asked the state government to ensure there was no cutting of trees or removal of any kind of greenery from the Taj Tapezium Zone.

NGT chairperson Justice Swatantra Kumar chided the Uttar Pradesh government for mis-managing Taj Mahal’s eco-sensitive zone and allowing constructions in the Yamuna flood plains.

Environmentalists here welcomed the order and pressed for early action by district authorities to curb builders and colonisers who had grabbed huge chunks of Yamuna flood plains in Vrindavan, Mathura and Agra.

The Braj Bachao Samiti in Mathura submitted a memorandum to the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority to demolish all illegal buildings in the flood plain areas.


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