New Delhi, Dec 14: The Supreme Court today asked the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a comprehensive plan on reduction of carbon level near the Taj Mahal with the use of technology by modernising an 18th century crematorium near the world heritage site.
A bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and C Nagappan took note of the submission of the state government that it would not be feasible to relocate the crematorium and rather asked the authorities to make people aware so that they use the electric crematorium.
The bench sought a response from the state government within six weeks on the issue after it informed the court that it has planned to promote the electric crematorium and make it's use free from the next year for people to choose it over traditional method to lit funeral pyres.
The court, meanwhile, gave permission to the state government to fell 281 trees for widening of the Agra-Lucknow Expressway after the state assured it that it will plant 2800 trees as compensatory plantation as mandated by rules.
The bench was hearing the matter after taking it into account a letter written by an apex court judge, Justice Kurien Joseph, pointing out that the Taj was under threat from pollution due to smoke emanating from the crematorium.
On November 16, the apex court had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to consider shifting of the crematorium. It had noted that despite several previous orders to the Agra Nagar Nigam and Agra Development Authority, "nothing meaningful" has been done and the public crematorium continues to be at present location resulting in possible damage to the historic monument.
Justice Joseph's letter stated that he along with his family had visited the Taj in September. During his visit, he noted that the emissions arising from the cremation ground may damage the monument's white marble.
In his letter, Justice Joseph had also proposed that the authorities be directed to relocate the crematorium to some other place in order to protect the site.