The National Green Tribunal has banned new construction within 100 metres on both sides of Braj Parikrama route, spanning across three states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan by declaring it as ‘No Development Zone’.
Braj Parikrama route spans across the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, part of Bharatpur district of Rajasthan and part of Palwal district of Haryana.
A bench of Justice P Jyothimani directed the government of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan to take steps to preserve the Parikrama path apart from restricting the growth of buildings.
‘‘We direct the government of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan to declare both sides of at least 100 metres, all along Braj Parikrama route as 'No Development Zone' where no new ashrams, hotels, buildings and industrial units will be permitted except shelters for pilgrims...,’’ the bench said.
Taking note of the various hardships being faced by pilgrims, the bench, however, allowed construction of shelters for devotees to protect them from rains, scorching sun and cold weather and directed the authorities to make arrangements for drinking water and medical facilities for them.
The tribunal's order came while dismissing a petition filed by an NGO, Braj Foundation which had sought a direction to Centre and the three states for allowing it to carry out afforestation of the Vrindavan region in Mathura.
According to the petition, UP had issued a public notification in 2010, inviting proposals from reputed NGOs for carrying out afforestation work in Mathura and Vrindavan.
The NGO had applied for the afforestation and the special secretary of forest, UP had informed the NGO about being selected for the plantation work, the plea said.
However, no further action was taken by the state to permit the NGO to proceed with the work.
The counsel for UP submitted before the tribunal that the government has decided that the beautification work of Mathura including Vrindavan will be taken up by the state itself as it has sufficient funds.
It was also stated by the state that by allowing third parties to do the developmental work, there was a possibility of illegal encroachment.