New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled the Uttar Pradesh government for framing the draft report of the vision document to conserve the Taj Mahal without consulting the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The top court said it was “surprising” that ASI, responsible for the protection of the 17th-century white marble mausoleum, was not consulted. It also asked the Centre and state government to identify a specific authority to take charge of the maintenance of the Taj Mahal and the redevelopment of the Taj Trapezium Zone, an area around the monument to protect it from pollution.
“It seems that authorities have washed their hands off the Taj. We are in a situation where a vision document is prepared without the involvement of the ASI,” Justice MB Lokur was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. The state government submitted the draft vision document to the Supreme Court on Tuesday after a bench headed by justice Lokur lashed out at it for neglecting the monument on July 11 and said it should either be shut down or demolished.
The vision document said the entire precinct of the Mughal-era monument should be declared a no-plastic zone and that all polluting industries in the region should be closed to protect it. The other measures suggested included promotion of small-scale cottage industries and restricting the increase in polluting and private vehicles. The Taj Trapezium Zone is a defined area of 10,400sq km around the Taj Mahal covering six districts, including pilgrim destinations such as Vrindavan.