The Weekend Leader - Total transformation

From wasteland, Taj Corridor to become Agra's green lung

Brij Khandelwal   |   Agra


Vol 3 | Issue 24

At last, the controversial Taj Heritage Corridor, sandwiched between the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort, will be transformed from a wasteland into the city's green lung.

The Uttar Pradesh Forest Department has been told to draw up plans to green the 80-acre dump yard and graveyard along the Yamuna river on which former chief minister Mayawati wanted to develop a commercial hub and amusement parks.

The Taj Heritage Corridor in Agra (Photo: Vishal Khandelwal)

But because the Archaeological Survey of India did not clear the project, the Supreme Court ordered its suspension in 2003.

"Yes, the chief minister (Akhilesh Yadav) called me and told me to speed up efforts to green the neglected corridor. Funds will soon be available and work will begin," said District Forest Officer N.K. Janoo. Yadav has a background in environmental engineering.

"But we have to follow all the directions of the Supreme Court, high court and the Archaeological Survey of India," Janoo said.

Once completed, the green stretch will be a new attraction for tourists.

At present, the land is being used not only as a dumping ground for garbage but also as a place to bury bodies of children and aborted foetuses.

Reports of the site being used as a burial ground have caused concern. Dozens of graves can be seen with the huge stones and boulders used for identification.

The sprawling 80-acre platform, recovered through dredging of the river bed and refilling of the open space, was left unfinished after corruption charges were levelled against Mayawati. The charges eventually brought down her government.

The case against her has been on for long, but the Taj Corridor continues to remain an eyesore. Scores of foreign tourists daily visit the site and take pictures that are not too flattering. - IANS

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