Black smoke reaches Taj as fire wreaks havoc near monument

Black smoke reaches Taj as fire wreaks havoc near monument

Black smoke reaches Taj as fire wreaks havoc near monument

Already facing threat from pollution, the Taj Mahal found itself in grave danger on Tuesday when a major fire broke out at a shop barely 50 metres away from the monument.

The fire that was detected around evening, completely gutted three shops of a handicraft showroom situated on the eastern gate of Taj Mahal. Though a fire tender was stationed very close to the monument, it took over an hour to reach the spot and douse the flames.

By then, the thick black smoke that billowed from the burning shop reached Taj Mahal and threatened to engulf the historical monument completely according to the eye witness accounts.
The fire also triggered panic among the tourists who were inside the Taj Mahal and many foreign tourists were seen running in fear. Sources said that a fire hydrant had been installed near Taj Khema Hotel barely a few months back for tackling incidents of fires near the monument, but it simply did not function on Tuesday. Taj Mahal already faces threat from pollution, which is affecting the beauty of the monument as the white marbles turn yellow owing to its effect.

The supreme court had in 1996 intervened to protect the monument from the pollution-causing industries in Agra. It had then directed the forming of a restricted zone around Taj Mahal and banning all petrol and diesel driven vehicles in the zone. Local experts however said that the situation has not shown any significant improvement and attributed the loss of whiteness of the marble to the dry bed of the Yamuna river that flows very close to the monument. They say that the river remains dry for most of the months and the sand was carried by the winds toward Taj causing abrasions to the soft marble.
 

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