There has been an increasing trend in the tilt of the Taj Mahal's southwest minar as per the latest survey, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which maintains the 17th century monument, has told the Supreme Court.
According to the latest study on the Taj Mahal's stability carried out on January 18 this year, the minaret remained "quite stable" till 1976-77 but its tilt increased to about 3.57cm in 2009-10, the ASI told the court in an affidavit.
However, the affidavit filed by counsel ADN Rao said there was no significant change in the magnitude of the other minarets. The affidavit is based on Survey of India's recent study.
Quoting the study report, the ASI affidavit stated: "The results of a recent exercise to determine the tilt of minarets, their horizontal and vertical movements and those of the structure as a whole have shown that the minarets of the Taj Mahal have remained stable and the changes found are insignificant and well within the permissible limits of geodetic observational accuracy."
The ASI said it had requested the surveyor general, Survey of India, to depute a team to undertake a yearly geodetic study or suggest some other organisation/institution that could undertake GPS observation.
A special bench headed by justice DK Jain had on October 14 taken cognisance of media reports about the danger posed to the Taj Mahal and asked the Centre, the ASI and the Uttar Pradesh government to examine the issue.
The bench, which has been regularly passing orders for the conservation of the Taj since the 1980s, had on the last date pulled up the ASI for claiming on the basis of data collected six years ago that the monument showed no visible distress.