SC criticizes Centre for unattended approach in protecting Taj Mahal

Either we will shut down Taj Mahal or you demolish or restore it,’ Supreme Court tells Centre

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You start shutting them down", the bench said, adding, "Charity begins at home. You can demolish it if you like and you can also do away with it if you have already decided.

"Uttar Pradesh (government) is not bothered".

One of the lawyers informed the judges that action plans are being drafted in a "vision document", however, the judges inquired that how soon the issue is actually being treated by the authorities. He said the Eiffel Tower was not considered as attractive as the Taj, yet it attracted millions of tourists.

The court asked how is it that foundries and other polluting industries are still being allowed to function within this delicate environmental zone which was created to protect the Taj Mahal.

The Supreme Court today observed that industrial units operating in Agra should be shut down, wondering how the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) Authority was considering proposals to expand industries in the city of Taj Mahal when there was an "ad hoc moratorium" on it. Our Taj Mahal is more lovely.

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A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak was upset with the authorities for not taking any step to preserve the Taj Mahal and said its "sheer lethargy" on the part of the authorities.

Supreme Court in May instructed the government to look for foreign assistance for fixing the UNESCO World Heritage site's varying colour, which is considered to be the reason of pollution, insects which excrete on the walls and the construction work. It is the biggest draw for tourists in India. "Do you realise the loss caused to the country due to your apathy?"

The Centre told the bench that IIT Kanpur was assessing the air pollution level in and around the mausoleum and will give its report in four months time. The Supreme Court also said that had the government taken the right measures for maintaining the Taj Mahal, it could have contributed heavily to the national exchequer.

The Court announced that it will start hearing the matter from July 31 on a daily basis to discuss how to protect the monument from the pollution in Agra. TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq kms spread over Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

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