With causes of air pollution in Agra still unknown, vision document finds fresh opposition

he much-debated ‘Vision Document’ prepared by the Delhi School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) for the protection of the Taj Mahal for another 100 years is scheduled to be placed before the Supreme Court of India on November 18, but not without a bevvy of angry protests against it.

With the IIT Kanpur’s study on the composition of pollutants in the air of Agra and its causes still incomplete, local residents and civic organizations are demanding to know what is the hurry to present a flawed and lop-sided document before the Supreme Court.

Talking to India Today, Agra Tourism Guild President Arun Dang said that when the study of air pollution and its causes are still incomplete, why was the administration so eager to present the vision document in the apex court.

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Agra Development Foundation secretary KC Jain said that information has been sought from the Central Pollution Control Board through an RTI regarding the progress of the IIT Kanpur study on pollution in Agra and in reply, the board has said that the samples of pollutants present in the air in the summer months have been sent to IIT Kanpur for analysis but the report has not yet been prepared even though the vision document is to be presented in the Supreme Court in just over a month’s time.

He said that it is hard to understand how only the industries of Agra are being seen as responsible for all the pollution in the air when the factors causing pollution in the city are still being ascertained. Unless the state government presents a correctly prepared vision document in the court, it will continue to be opposed by the people of Agra.

Talking on the subject of pollution, Hindustani Biradari Vice-Chairman Vishal Sharma said that the stop-and-go vehicular traffic in Agra is the primary cause of pollution in the city, but the government and the administration have both turned a blind eye towards it. The lack of a reliable public transportation system has given rise to a behemoth in the form of the huge number of vehicles plying on the city roads, but there has been no action to control these numbers.

Also, he said, Agra is a city that is still evolving and consequently, there is a flurry of construction activity going around in the city that is unchecked and was giving rise to a lot of dust pollution, which had not been taken into account in the vision document. He demanded that the date of presenting the vision document in the Supreme Court be deferred till the exact causes of the pollution are found out.