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Illegal constructions mushroom around Taj Mahal

New Delhi: Nearly 50 illegal constructions have mushroomed in surrounding areas of Taj Mahal in the past three years, threatening the beauty of the monument considered as a 'symbol of love' worldwide.

According to information released by the Archaeological Survey of India in response to an RTI query, a total of 533 illegal constructions have taken place in the entire Agra circle, out of which 46 have come up in Tajganj area.

Many of these unauthorised construction have taken place at a mere 100 metre distance from the Taj Mahal despite the directive issued by Supreme Court that prohibits any construction within 500 metres of the monument.

Taj Mahal.

Assistant Secretary Jamat-e-Islami Hind, Intizar Naeem, who filed the RTI, said though ASI had accepted that illegal constructions had taken place around Taj Mahal, they failed to respond to what steps had been taken for its removal.

"ASI has only given the information about illegal construction in Agra circle but no information has been given on what steps were taken against the people responsible or to remove the construction," Naeem said.

Not just Taj Mahal, many other important historical monuments in Agra circle also suffer encroachment, Naeem added.

"Many agitations have taken place in the past regarding illegal constructions around Taj Mahal but no concrete steps were taken by the ASI and administration to curb this," said Rajkumar Singh, chief of 'Paryatak Ghat Samiti', an organisation working for preservation of Taj Mahal.

Agra MP Ram Shankar refused to comment, saying he did not have information on the matter.

PTI