File photo of the Taj Mahal. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
The top court said there is "no doubt" about the importance of the new railway line. Permission to cut 452 trees will be subject to conditions and compensatory afforestation must be done
The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed a petition of the Northern Railways to cut 452 trees in and around 30 kilometers of Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) to lay down a new railway track from Delhi-Mathura-Agra, with a condition of compensatory afforestation.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde directed the member secretary of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to appoint an officer to visit the site and inspect the trees that have been planted by the Northern Railways as compensation.
The officer should take note of whether the saplings are being watered and nourished, whether any saplings have died, and whether dead saplings have been replaced, apex court says. The bench sought a status report from the office within three months.
The top court said there is "no doubt" about the importance of the new railway line. Permission to cut 452 trees will be subject to conditions and compensatory afforestation must be done.
The bench also asked the petitioner and environmentalist M C Mehta and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to inspect and submit a report within six weeks with remedial action on the problem of open drains, overflowing sewers in Agra town and vicinity of Taj.
The TTZ, established on December 30, 1996, to protect the Taj Mahal from pollution through an order of Supreme Court, is a 10,400 sq km area spread across the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.