SC clears Rs 8,380 cr Agra Metro, asks nodal agency to plant 18,230 trees

The second corridor of 15.4 km will span Agra Cantonment and Kalindi Vihar.
The Supreme Court (SC) has cleared the Rs 8,380 crore Agra Metro Rail project with certain riders, paving the way for the much-awaited mass rapid transit system (MRTS) in the Taj City.

In its order, the SC has directed the nodal agency, Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC), to ensure the plantation of 18,230 trees during the project phase in Agra. The MRTS project in Agra, the 3rd largest city of UP, is estimated to benefit a population of nearly 2 million.

So far, UPMRC has successfully completed, executed and implemented the Lucknow Metro project in a record time of less than four years and six months. Now, the Kanpur Metro project is also underway.

The Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the Agra Metro project was approved by the union cabinet on February 28, 2019. On March 8, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation of the project via video conferencing.

The SC had appointed a Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to study the impact of the project from environmental consideration. A CEC team had visited Agra on January 15 and 16, 2020 for detailed inspection of the alignment of the mega infra project.

In its report dated February 10, 2020, submitted to the SC, the CEC had expressed satisfaction with the implementation strategy and measures undertaken by UPMRC in implementing the Agra Metro project.

After considering the report and the petition filed by UPMRC (formerly known as Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation), the SC in its recent order permitted the Corporation to proceed with the Agra Metro project.

It will have two corridors. The first is the Sikandra to Taj East Gate, covering 14 km and consisting of 13 metro stations, of which 6 and 7 would be elevated and underground respectively. The second corridor of 15.4 km will span Agra Cantonment and Kalindi Vihar.

“The UPMRC team will not leave any stone unturned in delivering this world-class transport project for Agra in the shortest possible time and fully comply with the recommendations of CEC while implementing this prestigious project as per the directions of SC,” UPMRC managing director Kumar Keshav said.

Last year, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath had said the state was awaiting the SC nod for launching the project. Addressing the Urban Mobility India conference-cum-exhibition 2019 in Lucknow on November 15, 2019, he said the government had filed an application in the apex court seeking permission for the project owing to the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ).

TTZ is a defined area of about 10,400 sq km around Taj Mahal to protect the world famous monument from pollution. In response to a PIL seeking to protect the famous monument from environmental hazard, the apex court had banned industrial activities and the use of coal/coke in units located in the TTZ.

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