Use of LPG near Taj Mahal banned

Police say move is to protect the monument

Shopkeepers, restaurant owners and residents around the Taj were recently served notices by the police asking them to stop using gas cylinders.

“Use of gas cylinders could threaten the Taj Mahal,” Circle Officer, Taj Security, G S Sirohi said in the notice.

“The cylinders may explode in an accidental fire at the work place,” he added. Sources said that gas cylinders could also be used by anti-national elements. “They pose serious threat to the safety of Taj,” sources said.

The Supreme Court had already banned the use of kerosene oil, cooking coal and wood within the 500-metre radius of the Taj saying that they cause environmental pollution which could be harmful for the monument. As a result of the apex court order the food stalls, restaurant owners and residents using kerosene, coal and wood had switched to cooking gas. The court had also directed the authorities to provide cooking gas cylinders to residents of the area on preferential basis.

While the new order by the police might result in permanent closure of the food stalls and restaurants near the Taj Mahal, it could pose serious problems for thousands living in the vicinity of Taj.

“The police order has not suggested any alternative. It simply says that gas cylinders cannot be used,” said a resident. “How will we cook our food if we do not use the cooking gas,” he asks. Fortunately, the order has not yet been implemented owing to opposition by the locals, who have demanded that it be withdrawn forthwith.
“Cooking gas does not cause any pollution...we also take care to ensure that no mishap occurs,” residents said.

A police official in Lucknow also admitted that the directive could pose great problems for the people, who have been living within the 500-metre radius of the Taj. “We will look into the matter taking into consideration the problems of the residents,” he said. The official also said that the ban would not be made effective unless a thorough study on various aspects of safety was undertaken.

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