Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) has told the NGT that construction activity in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) near the eastern gate of Taj Mahal has been sealed by Agra Development Authority. The submission came in response to a plea filed by an association working for protection of Taj Mahal alleging that there was tree felling in the eco-sensitive zone near the 17th century mausoleum on a plot which was about 2.4 kms away from monument’s boundary.
“Some construction is existing on the said land which has already been sealed by Agra Development Authority and at the time of inspection the seal was intact. The representative of the property has shown his ignorance about cutting of any tree. However, 3-4 dry trees have been found at site. The representative could not show any permission or licence from any department for construction of the restaurant,” UPPCB told a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar.
In a separate affidavit, the forest department also told the tribunal that the plot where a structure was being constructed partially has been seized by the Agra Development Authority. It said branches of neem trees have been cut off.
The forest department submitted that as per the information received from the corporator of the ward concerned “it has come to the fore that in Shilpgram Agra there is no organisation under the name of Taj Mahal Welfare Association and neither is there is any secretary by the name of Mukesh Singh.”
The green panel has appointed advocate Gaurav Bansal as amicus curiae in the case. The submissions were made in an affidavit filed in response to a plea filed by Taj Mahal Welfare Association seeking action against those responsible for chopping trees near the marble monument despite a ban by the Supreme Court.
The petitioner association had written a one-page letter to the NGT alleging that illegal construction activity of a hotel and resort in Agra was being undertaken in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) near the eastern gate of Taj Mahal.
It said that one person had allegedly cut 20-25 trees in an area of 12,000 sq feet for building a hotel and when the matter was brought to the notice of the Agra Development Authority, it turned a deaf year to the whole issue.