The Archaeological Survey India (ASI) has agreed to restrict the number of tourists visiting the main mausoleum of the Taj Mahal to conserve the ambience of the heritage monument that recently got listed in the seven wonders of the World. It has also mooted the idea of introducing radio frequency identification device (RFID) in the tickets for keeping track of tourists who spent time inside the Taj Mahal complex. The latter has been proposed for security purpose.
In response to the suggestions that were placed before the special environment bench by amicus curae Kishan Mahajan, the ASI has sought the court’s approval to grant some time to the agency for conducting a “scientific study” to arrive at the figure as regards the number of visitors who should enter the mausoleum.
ASI’s affidavit read:”To work out the figure as regards the number of visitors who should enter the Taj complex, it is very essential to carry out a study with regard to the carrying capacity of Taj Mahal by taking into account parameters like tourist inflow, security, conservation and ambience.” The agency is contemplating to conduct a scientific study by involving national and international experts of different disciplines based on the advice of various organizations such as UNESCO.
As per the ASI more than 25 lakh tickets were sold in 2006. While more than 20 lakh Indians visited the monument, there were 4.90 lakh foreign tourists visiting the site.
During the first six months of 2007, about 13.38 lakh tourists comprising 10.63 lakh Indians and 2.74 lakh foreigners have visited the Taj. More than 13,000 tourists visit the monument during the peak season. However, the tourist flow goes upto 30,000 on Id festivals and annual Urs of Shah Jahan.
As suggested by Mahajan ASI has also agreed to implement the e-ticketing system which would be feasible to determine the carrying capacity and fixation of total number of visitors to be allowed entry into the Taj.
The special bench has granted two weeks time to ASI to inform the court how much time it would take to complete the survey, The bench will now hear the matter on August 20.