New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh government`s Yamuna
Expressway road project connecting Delhi with Agra may hit a
roadblock with the Supreme Court today questioning the
environment clearance given by authorities for construction in
the vicinity of Taj Mahal by cutting over 4,000 trees.
The apex court, which has been monitoring clearance to
projects since 1990s in the eco-sensitive zone near the Taj
Mahal, also called Taj Trapazium Zone (TTZ), said there was a
direction by this court that all the ventures in TTZ have to
be cleared by it.
The apex court made it clear that prior permission was
required for starting the project and expressed its
displeasure that the venture was allowed ignoring its
"Which authority has permitted you? Even before touching
the TTZ area, you have to seek permission of this court. We
want to see how you have been granted permission. Cutting of
trees which you are seeking will come later," the Bench said.
"It (construction of road) fell in TTZ. Nobody can grant
permission other than this court," a Bench of Justices D K
Jain and H L Dattu said while directing the state government`s
Yamuna Expressway Authority and the contractor of the project
Jaypee Infratech Ltd to place before it documents of various
environment clearance obtained from various authorities.
The Bench noted that since no permission was obtained for
the project around the 17th monument of love, the Authority
and the contractor will file an application in this regard and
posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.
The authority and the contractor have moved an
application seeking permission for felling of 4,022 trees for
widening of road from Agra airport to the Taj Mahal.
"You have put the cart before the horse," the Bench said
adding various aspects, particularly the protection of the
Taj Mahal and other monuments in TTZ has be considered before
giving any clearance to the project.
"We have to see whether it (project) is pre-judicial to
the monuments or not," the bench said taking note of the
submission of advocate Krishan Mahajan, who is assisting the
court as amicus curiae in the matter, that there are five
Mughal era monuments in the area.
"The question of cutting trees will come later," the
bench said while pointing out that the applicants had created
a situation of fait accompli.
"You have gone to the Environment Ministry for
everything. Why are you here? Just for the fait accompli?" the