Monday February 18, 2019
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NGT directs UP government to ensure no trees are cut near Taj Mahal

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Agra: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Uttar Pradesh government to ensure that no unauthorised construction activities are permitted and no trees are cut in the Eco-sensitive zone near the Taj Mahal.

Photo: marginalmatters.in
Photo: marginalmatters.in

In its interim order, the NGT on Monday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to set the boundaries of the forest land and reserved forest areas in the 10,400 sq. km Taj Trapezium Zone in Agra, Mathura, and Firozabad districts.

The NGT was responding to the M.C. Mehta report on cutting of trees near the Taj Mahal and on forest land in Baburpur village’s Sikandra area.

M.C. Mehta, the commissioner appointed by the NGT, in his interim report said a preliminary survey suggested that there had been a “removal of forest area”.

The NGT said “The commissioner further submited that the area which has been affected by the deforestation is within 500 meters of the Taj Trapezium Zone, the green belt area created as directed by the Supreme Court of India, and adjacent villages which he visited.

“It is specifically mentioned in the report that builders have started raising huge constructions in these areas and even on the bank of river Yamuna.”

The NGT asked the state government to ensure that there was no cutting of trees or removal of any kind of greenery from the Taj Tapezium Zone.

NGT chairperson Justice Swatantra Kumar chided the Uttar Pradesh government for mis-managing Taj Mahal’s Eco-sensitive zone and allowing constructions in the Yamuna flood plains.

Environmentalists here welcomed the order and pressed for early action by district authorities to curb builders and colonizers who had grabbed huge chunks of Yamuna flood plains in Vrindavan, Mathura, and Agra.

The Braj Bachao Samiti in Mathura submitted a memorandum to the Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority to demolish all illegal buildings in the flood plain areas.

(IANS)

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Catapults To Protect Tourists At The Taj From Simian Attacks

The biggest threat to the security of tourists comes from monkeys and there are hundreds of them waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting visitors.

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The Taj Mahal attracts not only foreign, but domestic tourists too; Source: Pixabay

Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal will now be under safety cover of catapults to scare rampaging monkeys who have been injuring visitors at an alarming frequency.

A group of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) troopers are now seen with catapults and not licensed arms for use against terrorists and anti-social elements.

The biggest threat to the security of tourists comes from monkeys and there are hundreds of them waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting visitors, tourist guide Ved Gautam told IANS.

Almost daily a monkey bite case is being reported. Last month, the number of victims was 16. The Archaeological Society of India (ASI) has put up notice boards at several places warning tourists of monkeys.

taj mahal
Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal will now be under safety cover of catapults to scare rampaging monkeys who have been injuring visitors at an alarming frequency.

At 15 points, CISF personnel armed with catapults are ready to take slingshots at the simians who have turned ferocious.

“When they see a catapult aimed against them, the monkeys flee full speed for safety,” a trooper said.

CISF Commandant Braj Bhushan Singh said his men had been given catapults to scare away the monkeys and make tourists feel safe inside the Taj Mahal premises.

A number of plans have been drawn up by various government agencies including the Agra Municipal Corporation after a monkey snatched a baby from a mother’s lap and killed it some two months ago.

Catapults made of plastic and rubber were selling Rs 10 a piece but are now the price has gone up to Rs 20 due to increasing demand all over the city.

Vegetable vendors, temple security staff, shopkeepers and domestic servants are buying catapults.

TAJ MAHAL
Catapults to save tourists at the Taj from simian attacks

According to a rough estimate, the number of monkeys in the Agra city area is around 50,000.

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“Such a big population of simians can neither be provided for nor shifted as there are no forests left. Usually they return to urban areas even if they are transported to remote areas,” said an animal husbandry expert.

“The problem was earlier confined to Mathura and Vrindavan, but now they are all over the Agra city,” said Shravan Kumar Singh, a green activist.

Meanwhile, Naresh Kadyan, Chairman of the National Animal Welfare Party, has protested against the arming of CISF personnel with catapults. He has lodged a complaint with the union Environment and Forest Ministry citing provisions of the Wildlife Act. (IANS)