The issue came to notice when a member of the SC monitoring committee visited the area last year and discovered that the college buildings were releasing waste into the lake.
A penalty of `10 crore has been imposed on two engineering colleges for illegal construction and causing pollution in a bird sanctuary on the Agra-Delhi highway, an official said Thursday.
The UP forest department has raised objection to unauthorised buildings coming up near the Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, about 20 km from Agra.
Divisional Forest Officer NK Janu told IANS: “Yes, we have inspected the points from where effluents and wastes were being released into the Keitham reservoir and found them contaminating the whole water body.”
“They have put up high-mast lights which disturb the birds. We have sent out notices and asked for immediate remedial measures. Besides, a fine of `10 crore has been imposed.”
Janu said the colleges had violated the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the Forest (Conservation) Act. The notices were first sent a decade ago but no action was taken to stop the pollutants from entering the water body in the heart of the reserved forest.
The lake is surrounded by a bird sanctuary, a python point, dense forest and the world’s biggest rescue centre for sloth bears.
The buildings have come up without permission, said UP Pollution Control Board regional officer BB Awasthi. The issue came to notice when a member of the Supreme Court monitoring committee, DK Joshi, visited the area last year and discovered that the hostels, canteens and college buildings were releasing waste into the lake, the biggest in UP.
Joshi told IANS: “It is amazing that for 10 years the forest department and the pollution control board people were sleeping. Only when I visited the area and demanded action, they sent out notices.” “The police are not registering a FIR,” he added.