Lucknow: The symbol of love ‘Taj Mahal’ is all set to witness a major environmental transformation in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) which will provide it a more of a Mughal era look.

National Institute of Environment Engineering (NIRI) has been roped in by the Union Environment Ministry to prepare the Environment Management Plan (EMP) for the TTZ which stretches in an area of 10,000 square kilometers.

The Environment Ministry aims at focusing on the Taj Mahal and projects related to the historical monument in the 12th five-year plan. It will reassess the eight projects planned in 2002-03 for the TTZ which have been left in abeyance. These eight projects worth Rs 899.60 crore will be implemented with equal contribution ratio by the Centre and the state government.

For the record, due to a Public Interest Litigation filed in 2002-03, the Supreme Court had ordered a stay on all the projects related to the TTZ. The Apex Court had directed the government to engage NIRI to evaluate the impact of projects planned for TTZ.

Following the positive feedback from NIRI, the Environment Ministry handed it the responsibility of drafting the EMP.

The Ministry of Environment is keen on controlling air pollution around the monument by providing an uninterrupted power supply in the area, promoting CNG based transport, developing a green cover belt and ensuring lesser pollution from the nearby industries.

The Ministry seems to have been alarmed by the dust which has been gathering on the Taj for past many years. As a result, the white monument is slowly turning yellow in colour.

The Pollution Control Board has discovered alarming levels of dust particles in Agra at 163 and 194 micrograms per metre square which is almost thrice the usual standards.

The Projects related to TTZ:

Uninterrupted power supply – Rs 81.51 crores
Agra-Mathura-Firozabad reforestation – Rs 77.63 crore
Biodiversity conservation – Rs 1.13 crore
Agra Barrage – Rs 606 crore
Gokul Barrage – Rs 2.44 crore
Beautification of parks – 54.83 crore
Transport development – Rs 15.38 crore
Taj Transport Nagar International Bus Station, Agra-Fatehpur, Gwalior, Kanpur road, CNG buses – Rs 60.68 crore

(JPN/Bureau)