New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed the local commissioner, probing illegal felling of 4,000 trees in the Eco-Sensitive Zone near the Taj Mahal, to submit the final inspection report by 16 December.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar gave this direction to advocate M C Mehta, who was appointed as local commissioner to enquire into the tree felling incident.
“What is this going on? We had given blanket orders to assist the local commissioner. Give us a final report or close down the matter.
“List this matter on December 16, 2015 and by that the report must come on record. On that date the final report should be positively filed by advocate M C Mehta. He is at liberty to take assistance from any institution he wants,” the bench said.
Advocate General Vijay Bahadur Singh, appearing for Uttar Pradesh government, said that the matter has been pending since long and the local commissioner appointed by the tribunal was delaying the proceedings in the case.
“Nothing adverse has come in the interim report as there is no mention of cutting of trees by the local commissioner. This matter should come to an end now,” he said. The tribunal had earlier directed Uttar Pradesh government to provide assistance to the inquiry into the alleged illegal felling and sale of 4,000 trees.
Mehta had stated that further study would be required with the aid of the specialised agency to submit a final report in the case. The tribunal had directed an inquiry into the issue after taking note of a media report and issued notice to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Uttar Pradesh government.
According to the report, a former Agra DFO had allegedly cut trees in 500-m-radius of the Taj Mahal, which is an eco-sensitive zone.