Taking cognisance of media reports suggesting that Taj Mahal was in danger because the Yamuna was drying up, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre, Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Uttar Pradesh government to examine the issue.
A bench headed by justice DK Jain, which issued notices to the ministry of environment and forests, ASI and Mayawati government seeking their response in two weeks, fixed November 15 to take up the matter. The court has been passing orders for conservation of the Taj since the 1980s.
One of the seven wonders of the world, the famous monument was built between 1632 and 1653 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their 14th child in 1631.
A British daily had reported that the monument’s foundation had been damaged and the wood used in the wells had rotted. The river, the report said, is crucial for keeping the wood used in the Taj’s foundation wet, and that it could collapse soon.
Availability of certain level of water in the Yamuna is essential to maintain the massive foundation that supports a complex system of wells, arches and wooden-spoked wheels and the dry ambience can fragment and disintegrate the massive ‘saal’ wood, the report said.
According to the report, the foundations of Taj Mahal got rotten and had become fragile as the Yamuna, which feeds the building’s mahogany, is running dry owing to deforestation and pollution.
BJP MP from Agra, Ramshankar Katheria, had earlier written to President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the danger posed to the 17th century monument.