Taj Mahal was built by blood and sweat of Indian labourers: CM Adityanath | india news | Hindustan Times
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Taj Mahal was built by blood and sweat of Indian labourers: CM Adityanath

A day after BJP’s Sangeet Som stirred a controversy, CM Adityanath said the monument of love was important for the UP government, especially “from the tourism perspective”.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2017 16:28 IST
Umesh Raghuvanshi
Tourists at the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO world heritage site. One of the most popular tourist draws in the country, India is often identified as the ‘land of the Taj’.
Tourists at the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO world heritage site. One of the most popular tourist draws in the country, India is often identified as the ‘land of the Taj’. ((Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO))

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said on Tuesday the Taj Mahal was an important tourist draw and it was immaterial who built it, in an apparent move to stem a controversy over the 17th-century marble monument to love.

“It does not matter who built it and for what reason. It was built by the blood and sweat of Indian labourers ... It is very important for us, especially from the tourism perspective. It is our priority to provide facilities and safety to tourists,” the chief minister said in Kushinagar.

Adityanath also announced his plan to visit the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and other important monuments in Agra, a day after Bharatiya Janata Party’s Sangeet Som kicked up a storm over the mausoleum.

“The CM will visit the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort on October 26 to review tourism schemes in Agra. The CM will also take stock of the work being carried out in Agra,” an official spokesperson said.

This will be the first visit of Adityanath to the Taj Mahal after taking over as the chief minister on March 19.

Adityanath’s remark is being seen as an attempt by the state government to put to rest the controversy after BJP’s Sardhana legislator Som said the Taj Mahal was “built by traitors”. The statement drew widespread criticism.

The BJP too appeared to disown Som’s remarks and called his comments on the Unesco World Heritage Site, his “individual view”.

The Taj Mahal draws crores of rupees in annual revenue but has received a barrage of negative comments in recent months from top BJP leaders, including Adityanath – who in June said the ivory-white marble mausoleum didn’t represent “Indian culture”.

Adityanath presided over a meeting to review the development projects in Agra on May 7 and also inspected the Yamuna but did not visit the Taj Mahal or areas close to the monument.

On July 11, the Adityanath government did not mention the Taj Mahal in “Hamari Sanskritik Virasat” (Our Cultural Heritage), a part of the annual budget presented in the state assembly by the minister for finance Rajesh Agarwal.

Last month, the state government omitted the reference to the Taj Mahal in a booklet published on the completion of six months of the Adityanath government. The move drew sharp criticism, prompting state tourism minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi to remark that the Taj Mahal was of great importance to the state government as well as the nation.