By Brij Khandelwal
Agra, Nov 10 (SocialNews.XYZ) Hundreds of hotels and shop owners of Taj Ganj area heaved a sigh of relief, after the Supreme Court directed the Agra Development Authority (ADA) to withdraw notices for shutdown of all commercial activities within 500 metres of the world heritage monument, Taj Mahal.
The shop keepers greeted the news late Wednesday evening with sweet distribution, dances and public display of relief, thanking the state government and activists who helped present their case effectively and 'correctly'.
The apex court in its order has asked the NEERI to conduct a survey of the area to assess the damage from pollution through commercial activities within the sensitive 500 metre zone. The report will be submitted before the bench within three months.
On September 26, the Supreme Court bench had asked the ADA to ban all commercial activities within 500 metres of the Taj. This led to a furore and created uncertainty about the future of more than 5,000 small establishments, including hotels, restaurants, shops, emporiums, utility services.
The Taj Ganj Welfare Foundation took up the case, interacted with state government officials, politicians including the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
Sandip Arora, of the Foundation said, "Shopkeepers, hoteliers and others have heaved a sigh of relief and the uncertainty that could affect tourism industry has now been cleared."
The ADA had issued notices to all the commercial establishments on October 3, asking them to shut down by October 17. But due to Diwali and other festivals, the deadline was extended by three months.
Meanwhile, the affected parties united, and through the Taj Ganj Welfare Foundation, approached the apex court to present the correct picture.
The bench on Wednesday heard the case, and allowed the relief. The ball is now in the NEERI court. "Within three months, the organisation will conduct a comprehensive survey and present its report," a lawyer explained.