Throw ASI Out Of Picture: SC Tells Govt As Historic Taj Mahal Faces Insect Attack
It was on December 8 last year when the Supreme Court (SC) had asked the Uttar Pradesh government to submit a detailed and comprehensive plan to protect the medieval era monument Taj Mahal for at least the next 100 years. The draft of the vision document for the protection and preservation of the monument and the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) has yet to be submitted. The TTZ is an area of about 10,400 square kilometres, spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan.
In the meantime, the pristine white structure is turning brown and green at places, and is being infested by insects and algae. While coming down heavily on the state government for showing lack of care, the SC on May 1 asked the Centre to involve experts from home and from abroad to chalk a plan to protect the monument that is turning "horrible".
On May 9, the apex court blasted the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), asking the government whether the body needed to be "thrown out of the picture" for its failure to protect the historic white marble mausoleum.
"You (the government) have to remove the ASI because they are saying they are doing an excellent job. The ASI will have to be thrown out of the picture," the SC said.
"First it was yellow and now it is becoming brown and green… we do not know whether you have or perhaps do not have the expertise. Even if you have the expertise, you are not utilising it. Or, perhaps, you do not care," the SC had said on May 1.
Earlier, environmentalist M C Mehta who had filed a plea seeking protection of the Taj from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area told the Bench that the TTZ was an ecologically sensitive area, and the government should have come out with a comprehensive policy for preservation and protection of the Taj.
The apex court, which is dealing with Mehta's petition, 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 in 1631. The mausoleum is also a Unesco World Heritage Site.
With inputs from Housing News