The Supreme Court came down heavily on Wednesday on the Centre and UP state government over deteriorating condition of the historical monument, Taj Mahal. The court said that while Eiffel saw 80 million visitors, Taj had five million, and yet it was crumbling.
The SC was miffed to find out that the authority in charge of the Taj Trapezium Zone was still entertaining applications from industrialists to expand their factories into the protected zone despite a long-standing moratorium from the apex court. The court directed the chairman of the authority to appear before it on July 31.
“You preserve it, or else we will close it or destroy it,” the Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur, observed.
Earlier in May, the Supreme Court had pulled the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) up for not taking care of the Taj Mahal. Then ASI had said unwashed socks worn by visitors and rampant algae seemed to turn the Taj Mahal from its natural white to yellow, brown and green.
The Bench was hearing on petitioner-activist M.C. Mehta’s petition in which he had alleged that the upkeep of the UNESCO World Heritage site was in shambles. He had also complained that CCTV cameras installed in the premises don’t work. Further, encroachments and industries have cropped up in the neighbourhood of the white marble mausoleum.
The court had already asked Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) authority to come up with a comprehensive action plan to protect the 17th century-built Mughal mausoleum.