Explain encroachment on Yamuna plains: apex court

February 10th, 2009 - 12:30 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Agra, Feb 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday issued notices to the Uttar Pradesh government and the Agra Development Authority to explain within three weeks how builders and colonisers were permitted to develop colonies in the flood plains of river Yamuna, close to the Taj Mahal.

Krishna Mahajan, amicus curae (friend of the court), told IANS on phone in New Delhi that he alongwith district officials had visited the sites and submitted a report to the apex court which Monday asked for an explanation from the authorities.

Yamuna activists in Agra welcomed the Supreme Court initiative, which they said was long overdue as both the banks of the river in Agra had been encroached upon.

Green societies like Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, Yamuna Foundation for Blue Water and Round Table on Yamuna said even the controversial Taj Corridor debris had not yet been removed and the Agra Development Authority was giving permission to builders to grab the land along the river banks without bothering to ensure if there was proper sanitation and drainage.

The three-judge bench of Justices S.B. Sinha, S.H. Kapadia and D.K. Jain has asked for explanation on various issues raised in its report by the monitoring committee headed by Krishna Mahajan who blamed the ADA for not following the norms and failing to check illegal constructions in the flood plains of the river leading to depletion of the green cover in the eco sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone.

Mahajan told IANS that dozens of new colonies had come up on the river banks in Agra. “The ADA obviously does not have set parameters or well laid out norms for granting permission to colonisers,” he added.

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