Agra/Mathura: Several environmentalists in Braj Mandal area have welcomed the National Green Tribunal's order banning tree felling and new constructions along the Yamuna flood-plains in the eco-sensitive Taj Trapezium Zone.
"There have been numerous complaints regarding illegal structures on the flood plains all the way from Vrindavan to Agra, but the concerned departments never bothered to take action. Hopefully the intervention by the NGT would bring the anomalies to light," said Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.
"Due to negligence by the authorities, the Yamuna river bank was being encroached upon by heaping garbage. The heritage ghats of Vrindavan are also under threat. We hope the NGT order will save our environment," said Jagan Nath Poddar, convener of Friends of Vrindavan.
Earlier, activists of the Braj Bachao Samiti in Mathura had submitted a memorandum to the district authorities demanding action against encroachers of forest areas.
The NGT order came after the Tribunal appointed commissioner MC Mehta submitted his interim report confirming that the trees in the vicinity of the Taj Mahal and Baburpur village area near Akbar's tomb had disappeared.
The Tribunal directed the state government to conduct physical demarcation of the forest area and the green belt within 500 metres of the Taj Tapezium Zone.
This exercise under the supervision of specialist agencies like the NEERI and the Dehradun based Forest Institute is expected to bring out the details of forest encroachment and how the green cover had been denuded.
The tribunal also directed the states and other concerned agencies to file responses of the Mehta report within two weeks and submit fresh evidences to counter the conclusions.
The green body will take a final call on September 10 to decide on charges of thousands of tree felling from the neighbourhood of the Taj Mahal and in Babarpur area.