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SC permits Rlys to cut 17 trees in TTZ for construction of overbridge

SC permits Rlys to cut 17 trees in TTZ for construction of overbridge

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed felling of 17 trees in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) in Agra for construction of an overbridge over railway tracks for smooth traffic, if mandatory compensatory afforestation is undertaken.

The apex court has been hearing a PIL of environmentalist M C Mehta filed in 1984 on preservation of Taj Mahal and its surroundings and has been monitoring activities to ensure that no damage is done to the monument and flora and fauna in the TTZ.

TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant allowed felling of trees and asked the authorities to comply with directions of the apex court-mandated CEC (Central Empowered Committee).

The directions include that the authorities will have to undertake mandatory 10 times more compensatory afforestation for felling trees to construct the overbridge on railway tracks.

The felling of trees for the project shall be limited to the bare minimum number which is absolutely unavoidable, the bench said, adding that the saplings will have to be nurtured properly.

The bench also took note of an another plea seeking a direction to the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to start online sale of tickets for night viewing of the Taj Mahal.

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