Centre, UP join hands to clean up Taj Mahal

Multiple-entry counters to be set up for tourists convenience

The Union Ministry of Tourism and the UP Department of Tourism have joined hands to find ways to spruce up tourist amenities in Agra, especially the area that surrounds the ‘monument of love’.

Among the steps to make tourist entry easier, the Tourism Ministry has mooted the idea of airport style multiple-entry counters with zigzag queues, replacing the lone entry point at the east gate of the Taj. Similar facilities may also be developed at the west gate.

The need to spruce up the monument has been felt more strongly due to the Commonwealth Games  next year, during which foreign tourists are expected to descend in large numbers. Though about 25 lakh tourists from within and outside the country visit the Taj every year, not much thought has been given to the upkeep of the monument.

“The surroundings are in a mess, with tourists having to trudge through cow dung and slush, while there are no signages indicating where left-luggage counters (cloakrooms) and toilets are,” an official said.

The Centre is working with the UP Tourism Department and the Agra Development Authority on proposals to improve things, he says. This includes the possibility of having ticket and left-luggage counters at Shilpgram, which is also visited by tourists visiting the Taj.

“There could also be Taj entry ticket counters and counters where tourists can book registered guides at the Agra railway station itself,” official sources said. To improve security and prevent “untoward” incidents, walkie-talkie-toting personnel will soon be seen moving around the Taj complex.

DH News Service

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