Pollution near Taj Mahal: NGT seeks Archaeological Survey of India’s response

Updated on Feb 06, 2018 07:37 PM IST

The plea said pollution levels around the 17th century monument are alarming due to the “dysfunctional and inefficient” Taj Trapezium Zone Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.

Tourists walk around Taj Mahal as workers clean the monument in Agra.(AP File Photo)
Tourists walk around Taj Mahal as workers clean the monument in Agra.(AP File Photo)
PTI, New Delhi | By

The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday sought the response of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on a plea alleging that inaction on part of the Taj Trapezium Zone Authority (TTZ) has led to deterioration of air quality, adversely affecting the Taj Mahal.

A bench comprising justice SP Wangdi and expert member SS Garbyal noted that the ASI had not been appearing since inception, when notices were initially issued to all the parties.

“After hearing the counsel for the parties today and upon consideration of the facts and circumstances set out in the various affidavits, we find that the presence of ASI and their reply is essential for an effective adjudication of the case.”

“We, therefore, direct notice upon them which shall be returnable before February 13. Copy of this order be transmitted forthwith to the director general, Archaeological Survey of India, for compliance,” the bench said.

The tribunal had earlier issued notices to the environment ministry, Uttar Pradesh government, Taj Trapezium Zone Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority and Central Pollution Control Board and sought their reply.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Agra resident Raman, who had contended that pollution levels around the 17th century monument have assumed an alarming level due to a “dysfunctional and inefficient” Taj Trapezium Zone Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority.

It had said the TTZ Authority, which was set up to monitor progress of implementation of various schemes to protect the 17th century monument, has completely failed in exercising the powers granted to it for “closure, prohibition or regulation” of industrial units in the area.

The plea had alleged that the TTZ Authority is functioning without any infrastructural and administrative setup and lacks funds, resulting in inability of the authority to implement its own decisions “thereby causing adverse environmental impact on the Taj Mahal”.

“The inaction of the TTZ Authority has resulted in blatant violation of environmental laws, particularly the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 along with its Rules and especially the inaction of a statutory authority is causing irreversible damage to the most coveted heritage of India, the Taj Mahal and the eco sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone,” it had said.

Raman had sought a stay on the operation of industrial units which were operating within the TTZ in violation to the orders of the Supreme Court and the decisions of the TTZ Authority.

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