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WHAT IS THE TAJ TRAPEZIUM ZONE AND WHY IS IT CALLED SO?

Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) is a defined area of 10,400 sq km around the Taj Mahal
to protect the monument from pollution.

The Supreme Court of India delivered a ruling on December 30, 1996 regarding
industries covered under the TTZ, in response to a PIL seeking to protect the Taj
Mahal from environmental pollution.

It banned the use of coal/ coke in industries located in the TTZ with a mandate for
switching over from coal/ coke to natural gas, and relocating them outside the TTZ
or shutting down.

The TTZ comprises over 40 protected monuments including three World Heritage
Sites the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.

TTZ is so named since it is located around the Taj Mahal and is shaped like a
trapezoid.
WHY IS THE TAJ
The Taj Mahal in Agra is one of the most beautiful monuments on the earth.
It was built by the Mughal ruler Shah Jahan in memory of his deceased wife
Mumtaz Mahal.
It is built entirely of white marble and was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage
Site in 1983.
It attracts scores of tourists from all over the world.
But now the monument has developed a yellowish tinge (and in some areas ugly
brown and black spots) owing to the increased levels of pollution around the area.
The main pollutant was sulphur dioxide released by the industries which later on
reacted with rain water to give acid rain.
Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) was also one of the culprits.

ABOUT WRIT PETITION IN 1984
Thus, M.C Mehta, an attorney in the Supreme Court of India and an active environmentalist, filed a
Writ Petition in 1984 mentioning the adverse effects of the industries and vehicles in the area on the
Taj Mahal.

He sought appropriate directions to be given to the concerned authorities to take immediate steps to
stop air pollution in the area and save The Taj.

This petition falls under Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

This case is commonly referred to as Taj Trapezium Case.

The Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) referred to by the court is a 10,400 sq.km trapezium-shaped area
covering the five districts of the Agra region.

The TTZ comprises over 40 protected monuments including three World Heritage Sites the Taj
Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.

The writ petition was accompanied by the report of the Expert Committee called Report on
Environmental Impact of Mathura Refinery (Varadharajan Committee) published by the
Government of India in 1978.

The report pointed out the sources of pollution in the area - all coal users consisting of two Power
Plants, a number of small industries mainly foundries (approximately 250) and a Railway Shunting
Yard.

THE
COMMITTEE
HAD ALSO
MADE SOME
SUGGESTIONS
IN THE
REPORT
It had asked to ensure that no new large
industries come up in the area without
conducting appropriate detailed studies to
access the environmental effect of such
industries on the monument, the existing
industries are shifted away from the area.
It suggested creating an
authority that monitors the
pollution emission and air
quality in Agra and has the
power to direct polluting
industries to lower their
emission levels to the
standards.
The authority can have the
powers to specify measures
as are necessary to reduce
the emission. The actions
taken in this regard should
be time-bound or speedy
in nature.
It also suggested that
studies should be
undertaken by competent
agencies to explore the
possibility the monument
by measures such as
creation of a green belt in
and around the area.
It also said that use of coal
in the refinery power plant
should be stopped till
other cleaner technologies
are available.
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2
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5
SC permitted UP government to cut 697 trees of
protected forests in the Taj Trapezium zone

The Supreme Court on 23 July 2013 permitted Uttar Pradesh government to cut 697 trees
spread across four hectares of protected forests in theTaj Trapezium zone. The green signal
was given to pave way for the widening and four-laning of Agra-Shamshabad-Rajakhera
Road.

The 12-km long stretch serves as a link to Taj Mahal from Yamuna Expressway and connects
the Agra-Gwalior-Mumbai National Highwayor National Highway 3 (NH-3). The four-
laning and widening of the road is estimated at 103.27 crore rupees.
The green signal was given by a Special Bench of SC comprising of Justice T.S. Thakur and
Justuice C.S. Nagappan.

However, the SC Bench laid down some stringent afforestation conditions which needs to be
met before the cutting of trees start. It directed the UP government to plant 10 times the felled
trees in suitable places which has to be identified by the State Forest Department. It also
directed that State government should get a formal approval under the Forest Conservation
Act, 1980 and deposit the net present value of the forest land.
SC permitted UP government to cut 697 trees of
protected forests in the Taj Trapezium zone
Background
The issue of felling of trees in the Taj Trapezium zone came to the SC bench in November 2013.
During that time, SC asked its Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to look into the issue of
either safeguarding the trees or favour the development project. The CEC on 5 February 2014
filed its report mentioning that the project was in public interest and there is no other viable
alternative to cutting the trees. Even the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest had also
gave the in-principle approval to the development project.
In light of the above developments, SC found no reason to disfavour the project and allowed
UP government to cut 697 trees.

National Highway 3
National Highway 3, or NH 3, commonly referred to as the MumbaiAgra Highway or AB Road,
is a major Indian National Highway that runs through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan,
Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra in India. NH 3 runs for a distance of 1,190 km.
The stretch between Agra and Gwalior is marked as the North-South corridor by the National
Highways Authority of India. In greater Mumbai area, the highway is also known as Eastern
Express Highway which continues as Mumbai Nashik Expressway.






The Central
Pollution
Control Board
(CPCB)
delineated the
Taj Trapezium
Zone on the
basis of the
weighted mean
wind speed in
twelve
directions from
Agra to
Mathura and
Bharatpur.
The
boundaries of
the zone were
made keeping
in mind the
effect of any
pollution
source in this
zone on the
critical
receptor- The
Taj Mahal.
This area was
declared as an
Air Pollution
Protection
Area.
There was a
ban on new
units of High
Polluting
Nature & the
expansion of
the existing
units was not
to be
permitted.
This zone
which is in the
form of a
trapezoid lies
between
2645N and
7715 E to 27
45N and 7715E
to the west of
the Taj Mahal
2700N and
7830E to
2730N and
7830E to the
east of the Taj
Mahal.

he Administration Division of the
aj Trapezium Zone

The TTZ is spread over 6 Districts:




The Taj Trapezium zone also includes
small parts of Aligarh and Dholpur. The region
as a whole encompasses an area of 10,400 sq. kms..................

The Diversity of the Taj Trapezium Zone
Each of these regions has its own importance in the contribution to the regions economic
growth. The natural and cultural setting in each administrative unit varies widely and
promotes sectoral development accordingly. The region covers sensitive receptors such as the
Taj Mahal in Agra, Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Soor-Sarovar bird sanctuary in Agra ,
Mathura& Vrindavan are popular religious destination and the Industrial area of Firozabad,
particularly famous for its glass industry.
T
Indias most celebrated monument continues to be threatened by pollution despite various court orders to close down harmful factories in Agra

Pollution has managed to do what 350 years of wars, invasions and natural disasters have failed to do. It has begun to mar the magnificent walls of the Taj Mahal, declared U.S. President Bill Clinton during
his visit to the 17th-century monument in the city of Agra earlier this year.
Over the past two decades, the fate of the countrys foremost tourist attraction has repeatedly come into the spotlight. Time and time again, experts have warned that environmental pollution is eating away
at the monument and discolouring its once translucent white marble. But the prescriptionto control pollution by relocating a number of industries around the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), a 10,400 sq. km
area around the monumentis pitting conservationists and environmentalists against business interests and unions. Besides the Taj Mahal, the zone includes two other world heritage monuments, the Agra
Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. So what should take precedencethe monument or the thousands of workers employed by the factories in the area? The stakes are such that the case is being fought out in the
countrys Supreme Court.
The culprits include the Mathura Refinery, iron foundries, glass factories and brick kilns, not to mention the continuous flow of traffic along the highways skirting the city. On repeated occasions, sulphur
dioxide emissions from industries in the area have reached levels ten times above the prescribed standard level. Combined with oxygen and moisture, sulphur dioxide settles on the surface of the tomb and
corrodes the marble, forming a fungus that experts refer to as marble cancer.
Blaming pollution and regulatory negligence for the Tajs decay, Mahesh Chandra Mehta, a prominent environmental lawyer, filed a case before the Supreme Court of India in 1984. He pointed out that the
white marble had blackened in places, while inside, the monument was being eaten by fungus, especially in the inner chamber, where the original graves of Emperor Shah Jahan and his beloved wife
Mumtaz Mahal lie. Mehta pleaded with the court to order the various industries to take anti-pollution measures or to close. He also stressed that pollution was affecting the health of workers and people
living in Agras residential areas.
Switch to gas
It was not until 1996 that the Supreme Court finally ruled that the industries in the area were actively contributing to air pollution and ordered major industrial units to install pollution control devices. Not
even a one per cent chance can be taken whenhuman life apartthe preservation of a prestigious monument like the Taj is involved, stated the court order. The court ordered 292 coal-based industries to
switch to natural gas or else to relocate outside the protected zone by April 30, 1997. Coke, the fuel commonly used in the cupola furnaces in foundries, is known to cause high levels of air pollution.
Factories that opted for relocation would be obliged to re-employ workers under favourable terms and to give them a one-year bonus. And if their plant were to close down, workers would be entitled to six
years worth of wages in compensation.
As a result, the oil refinery and a number of Agras foundries installed expensive pollution control devices. Sterling Machine Tools (SMT), the biggest factory in Agra, obtained a gas connection from the Gas
Authority of India. But according to a senior personnel manager, it takes time for production to reach the same levels as before and for workers to adjust to the new technology. The gas furnace costs
around Rs50 lakhs ($120,000). While we have the money, small units do not, he said.
Quite a number of factories did nothing about relocating or switching to natural gas. Some claimed that the cost of these operations was prohibitive: according to one industry representative, the basic
equipment runs between Rs30 to Rs40 lakhs ($75,000 and $100,000), almost a quarter of annual sales for a medium-sized company. Smaller firms say that the cost of applying for a gas connection, which
includes a pre-payment, cuts into annual sales. Even if they did close down and sell their land, factory owners claim that this would not cover workers compensation. Foundry owners also claimed that
finding skilled or even semi-skilled replacements for specific tasks in the relocated areas would be difficult.
Delay tactics
In August 1999, the Supreme Court struck again, ordering the closure of 53 iron foundries and 107 other factories in Agra that had not cleaned up their act. The order has become a call to arms for foundry
owners, workers, trade union representatives and small-scale industry. However, industry is buying time: it filed a review petition through the Uttar Pradesh State government and obtained a reprieve on the
court orders implementation. The matter comes again before the Supreme Court this summer.
In the meantime, Agras Iron Founders Association are building up their case. They argue that 3,000 cottage and engineering units depend on the foundries, and that about 300,000 workers are directly or
indirectly employed by them. They hold that the technology for using natural gas in their industries is not yet ready. Mehta claims that this is a delaying tactic: in 1995, industry experts had said that gas
could be used as industrial fuel. If the technology was not available then, they should have stated so at the time. According to Mehta, the required technology has been developed by the National
Metallurgical Laboratory and would help turn the hundreds of foundries in Agra into more efficient and less polluting units. While Mehta continues with his legal battle, his crusade against industrial
pollution earned him the 1996 Goldman Environmental Prize and the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 1997.
Although union leaders are firmly opposed to any relocation or factory closures, the battle has brought other concerns to the fore. According to a leader from the Centre for Indian Trade Unions, the entire
foundry industry is highly exploitative and the working conditions hazardous. The majority of workers are employed on a contract basis despite having worked for long periods in the foundrieswhich means
they would receive no protection if factories were to close. And a lack of information appears to hang over the whole saga: Ram Sharan, a worker in his mid-thirties from Bihar, said that he had vaguely heard
about foundries relocating and was quite certain that he would lose his job as a result. Workers at GT Iron Industries, a casting unit slated for closure, said that they had heard about the court order but
didnt know where they would go if the unit closed down. They had left their villages in Uttar Pradesh and other provinces many years ago and were living in rented accommodation in the city. But despite
these conditions, workers state that it is better than being jobless.
Industries aside, the Taj Mahal is an economic asset in and of itself: two million tourists visit the Taj every year, making it a major source of revenue and foreign exchange for the region. It keeps hotels,
craftsmen and small businesses thriving. In May this year, the Supreme Court banned cars and parking within 500 metres of the Tajs boundary walls. It ordered the shifting of about 70 shops from the
precincts of the white marble mausoleum. While experts agree that some of these measures have helped to improve air around the Taj, pollution levels have not dropped to safer limits as none of the
factories have actually been closed down.
Air pollution, dust, lack of greenery, traffic and the presence of noisy diesel generators around Agra are all harming a prized tourist attraction. To date, politicians have tended to side with industry while the
judiciary has backed the cause of the Taj. But in the meantime, the monument to eternal love continues to breathe in the fumes.
Order
S.O. 350 (E). In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-sections (1) and (3) of section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act,
1986(29 of 1986) (hereinafter referred to as the said Act), the Central Government hereby constitutes an authority to be known
as the Taj Trapezium Zone Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (herein referred to as the Authority) consisting of the
following persons for a period of two years with effect from the date of publication of this notification in the Official Gazette,
namely :-
(1) Commissioner, Agra Division Chairman (2) Chairman, Utter Pradesh State Pollution Control Board Member (3) Deputy
Inspector General of Police, Agra Range Member (4) Member-Secretary, Central Pollution Control Board Member (5) A
representative of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Member (6) A representative of the Ministry of Environment and
Forests Member (7) A representative of the Archaeological Survey of India Member (8) Vice-Chairman, Agra Development
Authority Member-Convener 2. The authority shall, within the geographical limits of Agra Division in the Taj Trapezium Zone
(see Annexure) in the State of Uttar Pradesh, have the power to -
(i) monitor progress of the implementation of various schemes for protection of the Taj Mahal and programmes for protection
and improvement of the environment in the above said area;(ii) exercise powers under section 5 of the said act;
(iii) take all necessary steps to ensure Compliance of specified emission-standards by motor vehicles and ensuring compliance
of fuel quality standards;
(iv) deal with any environmental issue which may be referred to it by the Central Government or the State Government of Uttar
Pradesh relating to the above said area;
3. The foregoing powers and functions of the Authority shall be subject to the overall supervision and control of the Central
Government.
4. The Authority shall be authorised to exercise the powers under section 19 of the said Act.
5. The geographical limits of the Taj Trapezium Zone (see Annexure) have been defined in the shape of a trapezoid between 26
45 N & 77 15'E to 27 45 N & 77 15 E in the West of the Taj Mahal and in the East of Taj Mahal between 27 00' N & 78 30 E to 27 30'
N & 78 30 E.
6. The Authority may co-opt experts for facilitating the work assigned to it.
7. The Authority shall furnish a report about its activities at least once in two months to the Central Government in the
Ministry of Environment and Forests.
8. The Authority shall have its headquarters at Agra in the State of Uttar Pradesh.

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