Rubber check dam proposed on Yamuna to strengthen Taj foundation

Published on Apr 27, 2022 12:28 AM IST

Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) Committee has come up with an answer to the reported threat to the existence of the Taj Mahal foundation

The rear side of the Taj Mahal. (HT file photo)
The rear side of the Taj Mahal. (HT file photo)

Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) Committee has come up with an answer to the reported threat to the existence of the Taj Mahal foundation.

It has proposed to construct a rubber check dam on the river Yamuna to revive the water-filled riverbed at the back of the Taj Mahal.

This riverbed, the environmentalists say, will provide moisture to ‘sal’ wood used in well-based foundation of the Taj Mahal, thereby ensuring stability to the foundation of the monument.

The committee has come up with the proposal in reaction to the news published in Hindustan Times in its Monday edition (April 25), in which the issue regarding the ‘perennially dry Yamuna posing a threat to Taj foundation’ was raised.

The story was based on the concern voiced by the archaeologists and architectural experts about the Taj Mahal foundation which has ‘sal’ wood planks and it requires moisture all the year round to remain sturdy. However, with the riverbed remaining dry for almost the entire year, the foundation was under threat of getting weaker by the day thus pointing towards the lurking risk for the heritage monument itself.

It may be recalled that a proposal of having rubber check dam at 1.5 kilometres downstream of the river Yamuna in Agra was already under discussion and the matter was taken up later on Monday when a regular meeting of Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) Committee was organised in Agra.

The plan to construct a rubber dam came up in 2016 and chief minister Yogi Adityanth had laid the foundation stone for the project at Nagla Pema in Agra in year 2017, said sources.

Commissioner Agra Division, Amit Gupta who presided over the meeting was informed about the proceedings related to proposed rubber check dam on the river.

Talking to Hindustan Times on Tuesday, the commissioner said that NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute) had given clearance for rubber dam on river Yamuna.

Elaborating on the issue, regional officer (RO) for Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) Vishwanath Sharma said the rubber dam is proposed at a distance of 1.5 kilometres downstream on the river Yamuna which flows at the back of the Taj Mahal.

“Before having permission from TTZ Committee, the proposal for rubber check dam on river Yamuna in Agra was sent to NEERI which gave permission but with a rider of compliance of certain terms for which a committee was constituted and Regional Officer (UPPCB) was named as the nodal officer,” said Sharma.

This committee named by NEERI will comprise representatives from Agra circle of Archaeological Survey of India, Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF), NEERI, and the nodal officer will be the UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) regional officer.

Sources said around three metres high rubber check dam would allow storage of 3.50 lakh cusec water behind the Taj Mahal.

Moreover, environmentalists believe that this rubber dam will assist in raising the ground water level in Agra district where a dozen blocks, out of overall 15 blocks, are already in dark zone.

To mention, Agra had a long futile wait for Agra Barrage, a similar project on river Yamuna for which foundation stone was laid by then chief minister ND Tiwari in year 1986-87 and again the then governor Romesh Bhandari laid the foundation stone for Agra Barrage in year 1993 for the same project but different location. However, the project could not be started.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Hemendra Chaturvedi is based in Agra serving as a Principal Correspondent, covering districts of Agra and Aligarh division of western Uttar Pradesh. He has been with HT since 1992 and has completed 25 year of association with HT.

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