Durga Shanker Mishra, the Secretary for Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs on late Friday night announced that India’s Supreme Court (SC) had approved the construction of Agra Metro’s Phase 1 project.
Per the court’s order dated July 14, of which I’ve been able to obtain a copy, the court approved Agra Metro’s construction subject to 11 conditions.
In its justification, the Supreme Court cites that it appointed a Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to study the impact of the project from an environmental consideration. The team had visited Agra in January and submitted its report to the SC in February in which it expressed satisfaction with the implementation strategy and measures undertaken by Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation (UPMRC) in implementing the Agra Metro project.
Some of the chief conditions imposed by the SC include compensatory planting of 18,230 plants (10x the number of trees to be cut), requisite approval from Uttar Pradesh’s ‘competent authority’ for cutting trees on government and non-government land, and permission of the Central Government for construction within the ‘Regulated Zone’ of the Taj Mahal complex.
Here are some relevant excerpts – the full order can be viewed here.
Supreme Court Order (July 14)
The CEC has prepared Report No.12 of 2020. The Committee, by considering the relevant material on record, recommended to consider the application for permitting the Project, as sought by the applicant Corporation, subject to certain conditions. The operative portion of the Report and the conditions which are required to be complied by the applicant Corporation, as recommended by the CEC, read as under :
It is recommended for consideration of this Hon’ble Court that the permission for implementation of the Agra Metro Rail project in the city of Agra along the proposed Corridor I and Corridor II and felling of 1823 trees is granted subject to the following conditions :
a) for nonforest use of the 4.183 ha of forest land formal approval of MoEF&CC under the Forest (Conservation) Act,1980 will be obtained;
b) the Net Present Value (NPV) for the forest land diverted will be deposited in the Compensatory Afforestation Fund;
c) for felling of trees on nonforest Government land and nonforest private land the requisite permission of the competent authority under the Uttar Pradesh Protection of Trees Act, 1976 will be obtained;
d) the felling of trees identified on the Right of Way shall be limited to the bare minimum number of trees and which is absolutely essential for implementation of the proposed project;
e) the Regional Director, Social Forestry, Agra will undertake compensatory afforestation by planting 18230 plants of indigenous species (ten times the number of trees to be felled ) on 21.0 ha of non forest land in GAT No.10 of Mauja Mutaval of Tehsil Fatehabad at the cost of the user agency, Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation and the 21.0 ha of compensatory afforestation land shall be notified as protected forest;
f) the boundary of compensatory afforestation planting site shall be chainlink fenced at the cost of the Applicant on a 2 feet high footwall to protect the plants from being browsed by cattle and other animals and the land shall be handed over to the State Forest Department for raising compensatory afforestation;
g) provision of watering of plants during summer months specially in the first three years of planting and maintenance are included in the estimate to achieve better success rate;
h) the funds required for raising the compensatory planting including cost of fencing, as estimated by the State Forest Department shall be deposited by the Applicant with the Regional Director, Social Forestry Agra in a separate bank account to be opened for the purpose in a nationalised bank before permission is issued for felling of trees by the Forest Department;
i) the Regional office of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change will monitor the implementation of the compensatory afforestation programme; and
j) the permission of the Central Government under Section 20 A(3) of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 in respect of the project area falling within the Prohibited Zone and of the National Monuments Authority constituted under Section 20 F of the Act in respect of Regulated Zone will be obtained before commencement of the project; and
k) the Applicant undertakes to utilise the harvested rain water in the depots and the metro stations and provide sufficient vehicle parking area in metro station complexes specifically to accommodate tourist buses and cars arriving from outstations by suitably modifying the Detailed Project Report.” Heard the matter through video conferencing. After hearing learned counsel appearing for the applicant Corporation and also all the parties concerned, having regard to averments made in the petitions by the applicant Corporation which is a Government owned company which is taking up the Metro Rail Project to ease out the traffic problem in the city of Agra and also after considering the Report of the CEC, we deem it appropriate that it is a fit case to permit the applicant to come on record and to permit the applicant Corporation to proceed with the implementation of Agra Metro Rail Project in the city of Agra as proposed.
Agra’s 29.40 km metro project with 2 lines and 29 stations was approved by India’s Central Government on February 28, 2019, and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for it via video conferencing on March 8, 2019.
Since then, UPMRCL has invited bids and awarded contracts for the following packages:
|General Consultant (GC)||TYPSA-Italferr JV|
|Detailed Design Consultant (DDC) for Line-1||Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE) – 3TI Progetti Italia-Ingegneria Integrata SPA – Leap Infrasys JV|
|KNPAGRS-01: Supply of 201 standard gauge cars (rolling stock) including Train Control & Signalling System for Agra & Kanpur metro projects||Bombardier Transportation|
|Package KNPAGT-1: 17,700 MT Head Hardened Rails||Bids Invited in February 2020|
With this development, the first tender notice for civil construction work should be right around the corner!
For more updates, check out the Agra section of The Metro Rail Guy!