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Local environmentalists protest the move to reduce eco-sensitive zone around the Taj Mahal

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Agra: Local environmentalists on Wednesday again voiced their opposition to the Uttar Pradesh government’s move to reduce the eco-sensitive zone limit around Sur Sarovar or Keetham Lake from ten km to just 250 metres.

In an unanimous resolution passed at a conference held at Youth Hostel Hall in the city, the green brigade warned of dangerous consequences of what it called a “suicidal step”.

“The eco-sensitive zone acts as a buffer for the Taj Mahal against toxic gases released by Mathura Refinery. The green belt has halted the march of desert towards Agra. The dense forest also filters dust-laden westerlies going towards Taj Trapezium Zone,” the resolution contended.

The green activists have been holding meetings and staging dharnas for the past 10 days ever since Divisional Commissioner, Pradip Bhatnagar, asked District Magistrate, Pankaj Kumar, to forward to the state government a proposal to reduce the forest area on the Agra-Delhi national highway.

“The issue has been examined. Keetham lies in the TTZ area where polluting units are already banned. There is no need for (imposing) unnecessary limits which may further enhance the arbitrariness of forest authorities,” Bhatnagar told a media outlet.

The Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) comprises of the 10,400 sq km area around the Taj Mahal to protect the monument from pollution. Over 40 protected monuments – including World Heritage Sites of the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri – come under the zone. It has been named so since it is located around the Taj Mahal and is shaped like a trapezoid.

Union Environment and Forests Minister, Prakash Javedkar, last week assured a delegation of Eco-activists that the state government’s proposal would be studied by a panel of experts and only then, a final decision will be taken, Sur Sarovar Van Kshetra Bachao Samiti president, Goswami Murari Lal Sharma, said.

The minister agreed to review the circumstances under which the limits of the famous Sur Sarovar bird sanctuary and Ramsar wetland at Keetham was sought to be reduced to 250 metres, said Devashish Bhattacharya, a member of the delegation.

While those who have purchased land for industries or multi-storeyed apartments in the area are happy, the greens are incensed over the “unwise” decision of the district authorities.(IANS)

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Kejriwal’s Door to Door Donation Drive is a Farce: Munish Raizada

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha makes an appeal that AAP should immediately restore donors' list on its website and then only seek new donations.

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Dr. Munish Raizada along with his Chanda Bandh Satyagraha team outside the office of AAP MLA Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar). File photo

Chicago: The Aam Aadmi Party Convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has launched a door to door campaign seeking donations for the AAP.  According to former overseas co-coordinator of Aam Aadmi Party, Dr. Munish Raizada, this is nothing more than a misleading campaign!

Raizada says that Kejriwal has no moral right to seek donations from common man as he has dismantled financial transparency in AAP by removing donors list from its website. Displaying donors’ list showing real time donations and making the income and expenditure accounts available online were the basis and the promise of the AAP, emphasised Raizada.

Now, after hiding donors’ list and its balance sheets from the public, the AAP cannot claim to be practising alternative politics.

Munish Raizada, kejriwal
Lack of financial transparency in the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP prompted a group of NRIs, who once worked to mobilise funds and support for the party, to turn against it. (File photo)

It may be noted that AAP removed the list of donors from its website in June 2016. Moreover, since then AAP has been surrounded with controversies related to donations. AAP had also received Rs 30.67 crore Income Tax notice, last year in November, implying that all is not well with AAP’s accounts, says Raizada.

He further questions Kejriwal, that if AAP has nothing to hide about its accounts and if AAP is honest with its account keeping then why is Kejriwal hiding the donations?

Even the donation policy that was earlier the pride of every AAP volunteer has been done away with. The donation policy on AAP website used to state: “Every single rupee donated to the party will be published on the website immediately along with the details of the donor. Every expense done by the party will also be published on the website.”

But rather than putting the donors’ list in public domain, the party’s corrupt leadership started blaming BJP and I.T. Department for harassing its donors.

 

munish raizada, kejriwal
Chanda Bandh Satygrah demands restoration of  lost values in AAP ( File Photo)

 

Opaque political funding is the fountain head of corruption. Further, Raizada says that if the party cannot be transparent in its political funding, then talking about fighting corruption and graft is a mere rhetoric. He said that the appeals by Chanda Bandh Satyagraha have fallen on deaf ears as far as the party’s

leadership is concerned. 

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha makes an appeal that AAP should immediately restore donors’ list on its website and then only seek new donations. Chanda Bandh Satyagraha was started by AAP’s volunteers in 2016, with an appeal to the public not to donate to AAP unless it makes its donation lists open and transparent.