Panic in Agra after tremors, Taj safe

Panic in Agra after tremors, Taj safe

Residents of high-rise buildings panicked and rushed for safety when an earthquake hit Agra on Tuesday afternoon.

"So far there have been no reports of any loss of life or damage to property," a district official said.

According to environmentalists, numerous high-rise buildings constructed on the flood plains of the Yamuna river are especially at risk.

Last week, this issue was raised through a petition filed by environmentalist DK Joshi before the National Green Tribunal.

"At the Taj Mahal tourists kept enquiring from each other but there was no tension or panic'," said tour guide Ved Gautam.

"People got to know of the earthquake from social media," said a shopkeeper at the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal.

According to conservationists "if tremors continued to come at this frequency there was an urgent need to fill up the Yamuna behind the Taj Mahal to absorb the shocks and act as a buttress to counter balance the weight of the huge structure."

Mughal historian professor R Nath has in his books elaborated on the importance of water in the river for the safety of the Taj Mahal.

"A dry river was not only raising the suspended particulate matter (SPM) level in the ambient air, but also posing a threat to the safety of the Taj Mahal," said Surendra Sharma, president of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.

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