Du­bi­ous facelift

NEERI filed a com­plaint against Down To Earth for ques­tion­ing the study that led to clo­sure of Agra's small units

Down to Earth - - CONTENTS -

Chem­i­cals were used in the past to clean the Taj with­out study­ing their ef­fects

Supreme Court's 1996 judge­ment, order­ing re­lo­ca­tion or clo­sure of 292 small in­dus­tries from the Taj Trapez­ium Zone, re­lied greatly on stud­ies by the gov­ern­ment's Na­tional En­vi­ron­men­tal En­gi­neer­ing Re­search In­sti­tute (NEERI) on air pol­lu­tion sources that could af­fect the Taj. More than eight months be­fore the judge­ment, Down To Earth (DTE) pub­lished an ar­ti­cle that ques­tioned NEERI's re­port. A com­plaint against the mag­a­zine was filed by NEERI with the Press Coun­cil of In­dia for the ar­ti­cle. It was, how­ever, dis­posed of in 45 min­utes and the Coun­cil made it clear that mere crit­i­cism would not give NEERI a cause of ac­tion (see, `Trou­ble over the Taj Ma­hal', DTE, Fe­bru­ary 15, 1998). At that time, DTE's found­ing edi­tor Anil Agar­wal em­pha­sised that rec­on­cil­i­a­tion of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion with en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion needs good sci­en­tific ad­vice. The mag­a­zine re­it­er­ates this point when con­ser­va­tion of the Taj Ma­hal is again at odds with the liveli­hood of peo­ple.

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