Restore or demolish Taj Mahal: Supreme Court slams Centre

Agra PTI

The Taj Mahal is one of the world's leading tourist attractions.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Centre and authorities for not acting fast to protect Taj Mahal, reported PTI.

Taj Mahal is one of the best and most attractive tourist destinations of India, but the rise in air pollution in Agra is damaging the monumennt.

The Supreme Court was hearing a petition that calls for proper maintenance of the Taj, a 16th century marble mausoleum that draws thousands of tourists from India and overseas each year and is a must-see on the itinerary of most dignitaries.

While making their point, the judges likened the famed monument in Paris, a tourist favourite, to a "TV tower". Our Taj is more attractive. If you had looked after it your foreign exchange problem would have been solved. The bench asked the Centre to furnish details of what has been done and what is required to protect the monument.

It has already shut down thousands of factories near the monument, but activists say the white marble is still losing lustre.

"Do you realise the loss caused to the country due to your apathy?", observed the bench.

The court also sought personal appearance of the chairman of Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) - a 10,400 sq km area spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan - to explain violation of it's orders prohibiting expansion of industrial units in the zone.

Earlier in May the same court had directed the federal and provincial authorities to appoint global experts to rectify the "serious colour change" in the Taj's once gleaming white marble due to continuing pollution levels.

The bench said it will hear the matter on day-to-day basis from July 31.

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