Taj Trapezium Zone is a defined area around the Taj Mahal to protect it from pollution
The National Green Tribunal has clarified that environmental clearance can be granted to projects within Agra's Taj Trapezium Zone for securing the basic amenities for residents such as drinking water, sewerage treatment, drainage system and waste disposal among others.
The green panel agreed with the approach of the Oversight Committee headed by a former high court judge that the Supreme Court has made it clear that projects for essential amenities can go ahead.
The tribunal said the top court has stated in its order that "there shall be no impediment for the authorities to consider pending environmental clearances which are necessary to secure essential amenities within TTZ".
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that in view of clear orders of the Supreme Court, the authorities may expeditiously take further action in the matter.
The tribunal took note of a report filed by the committee that as far as legacy waste remediation is concerned, around 50 per cent has already been remediated, and the remaining is likely to be completed by December 2020.
"We are of view that while Bio/Phyto (in-situ) remediation work has commenced on 11 drains and is likely to commence on 57 drains as per above report, total drain being 90, the remaining drains also need to be covered for such work at the earliest, as soon as current monsoon is over," the bench said.
The tribunal said further action be taken which may be overseen by the Oversight Committee.
The CPCB regional office in Agra may visit the sites and examine whether remediation (bio-mining of legacy waste and in-situ remediation of drains) is being done as per norms and give its report to the NGT before the next date by email, the tribunal said.
"The Oversight Committee may furnish its report as on December 31, 2020 before the next date by email.The Oversight Committee may also forward a copy of its report to the Chief Secretary so that monitoring at the level of Chief Secretary will also take place," the bench said.
The NGT had earlier expressed dissatisfaction over a report filed by the Uttar Pradesh government on compliance of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 in Agra city and said it showed very little progress.
It had said there was nothing to show that the gap with regard to treatment capacity of solid waste of 690 tonnes per day has been met, nor has the gap of 156 million litres per day in water supply been addressed.
It noted that 61 per cent of untreated sewage was being discharged into the Yamuna river.
The tribunal's direction came on a plea filed by Agra resident D K Joshi and NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE) seeking compliance of the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, the Hazardous and other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016 and the Bio-medical Waste Management Rules, 2016 in the city of Agra as well as the areas coming under the Cantonment Board and the eco-sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone.
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