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SC orders immediate cleaning of Yamuna river bed in Agra

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ordered authorities to immediately clean the river bed of the Yamuna in Agra.

A bench of Justices Abhay S. Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan was hearing the application moved by an NGO seeking directions for the restoration of the river bed to its natural state and removal of the silt, sludge, and garbage up to a depth of 5-6 metres.

The Bench has asked the Centre, the Uttar Pradesh government, and the Agra Development Authority to file compliance affidavits by the end of June 2024.

“The three authorities, while filing the affidavits, shall take a clear stand setting out the name of the authority which is under an obligation to undertake continuous work of removal of silt, sludge, and garbage from the bed of river Yamuna,” it said.

The top court said that if the authorities concerned need advice from an expert agency to ensure the cleaning of the river bed, the Union government will take an appropriate decision in such a case.

“Needless to add that removal of the slit, sludge, and garbage from the bed of river Yamuna has to be a continuous activity,” the SC order said.

The matter will be taken up for further hearing on July 11.

In its application filed before the apex court, the Agra Development Foundation said that around 90 surface drains flow towards and join the River Yamuna and many of them have untreated and untapped wastewater, carrying the wastewater load with solid waste, sludge, polythene and plastic, which fall in the river and get deposited on the river bed.

The Supreme Court has been passing orders, from time to time, to protect the Taj Mahal and other protected monuments, falling within the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), which extends to approximately 10,400 square km across 6 districts, namely, Agra, Mathura, Firozabad, Etah, and Hathras (UP) and Bharatpur (Rajasthan).


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