Sunday, 22 July, 2018

SC slams Centre for 'lethargy' over upkeep of Taj Mahal

The Supreme Court said it would hear updates on the monument daily from July 31 The Supreme Court said it would hear updates on the monument daily from July 31 Credit Manish Swarup AP
Steven Clarke | 13 July, 2018, 22:52

"You can shut down the Taj".

"Uttar Pradesh is not bothered".

The statement came in response to the lack of action taken to prevent and remedy the discoloration of the monument.

The court said the Taj Mahal is much more lovely than the Eiffel Tower and could have solved the country's foreign exchange problem.

The court said both the federal and state government had shown "lethargy" in taking steps to tackle the monument's deteriorating condition. He said the Eiffel Tower was not considered as handsome as the Taj, yet it attracted millions of tourists.

The judges cited the Eiffel Tower as an example of good preservation, noting that the Paris landmark remained in good condition despite attracting "eight times more tourists in comparison to the Taj", says The Times of India. Taj Mahal has to be protected. Because of the massive air pollution in and around the city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal stands, its marble facade has changed from pearl white to a greenish brown, the judges complained. "If you had looked after it, your foreign exchange problem would have been solved".

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Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said the government has not taken concrete steps despite a parliamentary standing committee report on protecting Taj Mahal.

The government has closed many factories near the Taj Mahal area in the city of Agra, and the palace has been treated with packs that absorbs dirt many times over the past in a bid to save its legendary white surface. It is the biggest draw for tourists in India.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday told the Centre to "demolish" or "shut down" the Taj Mahal if it was unable to ensure proper upkeep of the monument.

In its defence, the Centre told the bench that the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur was assessing air pollution levels in and around the mausoleum and would give its report in four months.

The court also noted that the authorities were allowing expansion of industrial units in the vicinity of Taj Mahal which could add to the pollution. The court has now said that it will begin daily hearing in the matter starting July 31.

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