New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the Agra Development Authority (ADA) for not conducting any survey on the environmental impact of commercial activities near the Taj Mahal, describing it as a sad situation. The Supreme Court said that he has to act like a super administrator, because the ADA has not been successful in performing its duty. Along with this, the court has stayed the implementation of the notice given to stop all commercial activities along the boundary wall of the centuries-old monument.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S Oka also directed the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) based on a fresh survey of commercial activities especially within 500 meters of the Taj Mahal’s boundary wall and expeditiously. He was asked to submit a report giving suggestions to the court at the earliest.
Mukul Rohatgi appeared on behalf of the shop owners
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the shop owners, said that they have been doing their business for decades and have residences in the area and now the ADA has given them closure notice. Rohatgi said these 2,000 establishments are not under any litigation for the last 40 years and have never indulged in any commercial activity which is prohibited.
Justice ADN Rao said the order banning commercial activities within 500 meters of the Taj Mahal has been in existence since 1996 and has been reiterated time and again. Meanwhile, for tourists wishing to visit the Taj on moonlit nights, the court modified its 2004 order and directed the authorities to introduce online ticketing facility instead of physically giving tickets 24 hours in advance.
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