ASI asks army to stop construction near Taj Mahal

April 2nd, 2008 - 11:57 pm ICT by admin  

Agra, April 2 (IANS) The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Wednesday issued notice to Indian Army authorities, asking them to stop construction work in a green patch of land between the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort here. “We have asked them to stop construction forthwith and comply with the existing legal requirements of getting an NOC (no objection certificate) from us,” D.N. Dimri, superintending archaeologist (Agra circle), told IANS.

City environmentalists had raised objections to the structures being raised in the area and the large-scale felling of trees opposite the Agra Fort.

“The work going on for over two years should not have been allowed in the first place, but official agencies didn’t wake up in time. Such callous indifference to environmental laws and the directives of the apex court calls for serious examination of the role of government agencies entrusted with the work of conservation,” said D.K. Joshi, trade union leader and member of the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee.

Forest Officer A.K. Janoo, however, said that the existing rules were not applicable to the armed forces.

In March, the Supreme Court had issued notices to various government departments to explain the disappearance of trees on the Mall Road, the stretch of road under the Agra Cantonment Board.

Objections had also been raised to the construction of an overhead water tank near the Shah Jehan Garden as it was an ‘eyesore’. ASI officials said they had no idea when it was built and by whom.

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