The Mayawati governments ambitious Yamuna Expressway connecting Delhi to Agra came under the Supreme Court scanner on Friday after it was learnt that over 5,000 trees in the eco-sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) have to be felled to make way for the road.
A Bench headed by Justice D K Jain desisted from passing any orders on the issue,and opted to wait for Supreme Court amicus curiae in the case,Krishna Mahajan,to conduct a field investigation to verify the number of trees required to be cut.
The apex court,which has been monitoring since the 1990s clearance to projects in TTZ area,however,said otherwise it had no objection to the government going ahead with the road project in the TTZ.
The Bench asked the developer of the project and the authorities that the trees required to be cut should be numbered and marked so that the amicus could survey the area along with the members of the apex-court appointed Central Empowered Committee.
The court said the requisite exercise and the report in this regard had to be completed within four weeks.
The UP governments Yamuna Expressway Authority and contractor Jaypee Infratech Ltd had earlier approached the apex court,seeking its nod for construction in the TTZ area.
Senior advocate Ashok Desai,appearing for the developer,said though there was no order requiring the courts prior permission for cutting the trees,the Conservator of Forests had asked the company to get a clearance from the CEC,which prompted it to approach the apex court.
The Bench responded that even if it had not passed any orders previously,it still had jurisdiction to go into the issue concerning an eco-fragile zone.