SC asks for larger perspective on protecting Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal. PTI

The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the authorities to take a larger perspective on issues of pollution and green cover to prepare a vision document on protecting the Taj Mahal, saying there would not be a second chance to preserve it.

The top court, while observing that the Taj Mahal would "of course be the centre piece" of the matters to be considered, said other issues like vehicular traffic, pollution from the industries operating in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) and the water level of river Yamuna, should also be looked into while preparing the vision document.

The TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.

"If the Taj Mahal goes once, you will not get a second chance," a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta told the project coordinator, who is involved in the process of preparing the vision document.

When Uttar Pradesh counsel said that 1,167 polluting industries existed in the area now, the bench said "things have changed from what was told to this court in 1996. There were 511 industries then and now it is 1,167. Has all this being taken into consideration?"

The project coordinator, however, said the number of industries in the list given to them was "incorrect".

"If information given to you is incorrect, the vision document would be incorrect. This is the problem," the court said.

Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, said a decision to declare Agra as a heritage city is likely to be taken within a month.

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SC asks for larger perspective on protecting Taj Mahal

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