Millennium Post

'No! Taj Mahal is still not safe from pollution,' insist greens

Environmentalists on Monday said the Taj Mahal and other historical monuments in Agra remain at risk from pollution even twenty-three years after the Supreme Court announced a set of measures to protect them. Speakers at a day-long dharna here, organised on the occasion of World Environment Day, said environmental conditions in the city had worsened due to the increased number of vehicles and migration from villages which resulted in expanding urban limits.

The activists also sought to draw the attention of the authorities towards the plight of the Yamuna river.

"Where dense green patches and community ponds once kept pollution in check, high-rise buildings and colonies had mushroomed," said activist Dr Devashish Bhattacharya.

The Supreme Court had issued a series of directives including shifting and closure of all polluting industries in the eco-sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone.

The iron foundries and glass units were ordered to shift out of the zone or switch over to natural gas through a pipeline which the GAIL laid.

Acting on the recommendations of the high-powered Dr S Vardarajan Committee, the apex court ordered uninterrupted power supply and shiftingof 'Petha' units, leather shoe factories and local dairies outside the city.

The activists said the local administration has failed to shift the washermen, dairies and petha units to Kalindi Vihar and the shoe factories to a leather park in Achnera, despite plots being alloted.
The Taj Ganj crematorium also should be shifted as fumes from the pyres are said to have polluted the ambient air around the Taj Mahal, they said.
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