SC says vision document on Taj Mahal should take into account pollution in Taj Trapezium Zone; next hearing on 25 Sept

The Supreme Court on Tuesday told the Uttar Pradesh government that the vision document for the protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal in Agra should be prepared taking into account issues like pollution in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) and industries operating there.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said authorities should look into the larger perspective while dealing with the issue of protection of Taj Mahal.

ANI quoted Justice Lokur as saying, "Ecosystem and environment are important facets of the vision document and thereby should be kept in mind before any steps or suggestion are taken in the preservation of Taj Mahal."

"If Taj Mahal goes once, you will not get a second chance," the bench also comprising Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta said.

Meanwhile, the Centre told the apex court that they have communicated to the Uttar Pradesh government to send a proposal declaring Agra as a heritage city. The Centre also told the bench that Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was in the process of preparing a heritage plan for Taj Mahal, and the same would be filed with United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) within three months.

The Uttar Pradesh government told the court that they will respond to the Centre's communication within a month.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on 25 September.

India Today reported that the bench had earlier slammed the authorities, saying it will be an embarrassment if UNESCO withdraws the world heritage tag awarded to the ivory-white marble mausoleum, which is losing lustre due to pollution. The court had repeatedly questioned how Taj Mahal's marble had changed from white to brown and gradually to green. No agency had a convincing answer.

The apex court has been monitoring development in the area to protect the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Its construction was completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Aug 28, 2018 15:12:12 IST

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