The Supreme Court on Thursday criticised the Uttar Pradesh and Central governments for not protecting the Taj Mahal, and directed the state to submit a vision document regarding the monument’s preservation within four weeks, PTI reported.
The Taj Mahal, which attracts millions of tourists to Agra every year, is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage Site.
The court also asked the state government to give details about the number of trees planted in and around the Taj Mahal and the Taj Trapezium Zone, besides explaining the reasons for the sudden increase in activities in the area.
“You file the vision document within four weeks,”a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta said. “There is sudden flurry of activities in TTZ [Taj Trapezium Zone]...Leather industries and hotels are coming up there. Why?”
Additional Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for Uttar Pradesh, told the court that he would reply after getting instructions from the state government.
In November 2017, the court had criticised the state government for the lack of a comprehensive policy to protect and preserve the beauty of the world-famous monument. The court had also issued a notice to the Taj Trapezium Zone authority, asking it whether there was any comprehensive action plan to protect the monument, and asked it to produce a vision document.
In August 2017, the National Green Tribunal had directed the Uttar Pradesh government to demolish all illegal restaurants and eateries constructed by private firms near the Taj Mahal. The panel held that the ecology of the area surrounding the heritage site cannot be compromised, and urged the state government to organise a plantation drive around it.