For the purpose of laying a railway track between Mathura and Jhansi, the Supreme Court has allowed the felling of 4,108 trees in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ).
The plea filed by Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) was heard by a bench constituting Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
Appearing for RVNL, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that the planned railway track is about 274 km long, of which a stretch of 80 kilometre goes through the TTZ.
Mehta told the bench that the felling of trees can be permitted for laying the railway track can be allowed subject to conditions, including compulsory afforestation and that the recommendations have been given by Central Empowered Committee (CEC).
He said the authority will comply with all the conditions as stipulated by CEC.
“We are of the view that it will be appropriate to permit 4,108 trees to be felled by Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd for the purpose of laying down the railway track,” the bench said.
The apex court said it is granting permission for felling of trees subject to conditions imposed by the CEC.
In its application seeking permission to cut trees, RVNL has said that laying of a third railway track in the stretch is necessary as the existing track is totally choked and results in hours-long delay due to non-availability of railway track.
The apex court is hearing the matter related to the protection and preservation of the iconic Taj Mahal at Agra and its surroundings.
The top court has been monitoring developments in the area to protect the monument, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631. The mausoleum is a UNESCO World Heritage.
With PTI Inputs