Environment

Have You Seen the Dirt Around Taj Mahal, NGT Asks Agra Civic Bodies

The tribunal rapped Agra Development Authority and Agra Nagar Nigam for their failure to keep the area near the marble mausoleum clean.

The Taj Mahal. Credit: friarsbalsam/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The Taj Mahal. Credit: friarsbalsam/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) pulled up civic bodies in Agra district of Uttar Pradesh on May 26 over the rampant dumping of municipal solid waste on the floodplains of the Yamuna near Taj Mahal leading to stagnation of water in the river.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said, “Have you (civic bodies) seen the dirt around the Taj Mahal? It’s a world heritage site. It’s a shame that you can’t keep even a world known monument clean. We have been passing orders all round the year, still you have not taken any action. We had asked you to put barbed wire so that there is no encroachment on the floodplains, you have not done that as well. Please clear the dirt. Ask your officials to appear before us.”

The tribunal rapped Agra Development Authority and Agra Nagar Nigam for their failure to keep the area near the marble mausoleum clean and directed the top officers of these departments to appear before it on May 31.

The green panel on May 16 had issued notices to Ministry of Environment and Forests, Uttar Pradesh government and others on the plea of Agra resident D. K. Joshi.

Joshi had claimed that dumping of waste in the Yamuna had led to stagnation of the river and “consequently the explosive breeding of an insect called ‘Chironomus Calligraphus’ (Geoldichironomus), which is a biological indicator of water quality and localised water pollution”.

Referring to a report of the Archaeological Survey of India, the plea, filed through advocate Rahul Chaudhory, had said that these insects were staining the walls of the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, greenish-black.

“School of Entymology, St John’s School, Agra did a preliminary report on the insect attack to the Taj Mahal and found that the presence of the insects was causing damage to the monument,” the plea had said while seeking constitution of a committee to look into the problem to prevent further damage to the river and the monument.