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Supreme Court puts upkeep of Taj Mahal in hands of 3 govt officers

The Supreme Court has named the three, the nodal officers in charge of all matters pertaining to the upkeep and maintenance of the Mughal era monument which is turning yellow in colour due to multiple sources of pollution.

india Updated: Jul 30, 2018 23:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court,Taj Mahal,Commissioner of Agra
Garbage is seen on the polluted banks of the river Yamuna near the historic Taj Mahal in Agra. Dissatisfied with the working of the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) Authority, environmentalist, MC Mehta, petitioned for setting up a special body in place of the TTZ. (Reuters File Photo)

The fate of the Taj Mahal is now in the hands of K Ram Mohan Rao, RS Prasad (not the minister), and Usha Sharma.

None of the three is a household name in India. The first, is the Divisional Commissioner of Agra. The second is Joint Secretary (Climate Change), in the Ministry of Environment and Forest. And the third is the Director General of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The Supreme Court has named the three, the nodal officers in charge of all matters pertaining to the upkeep and maintenance of the Mughal era monument which is turning yellow in colour due to multiple sources of pollution.

An order to this effect was passed by a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta after the Centre, Uttar Pradesh government and the ASI identified the three officers as the point persons for the maintenance of the Taj.

The court has clarified that in future any affidavit in the court on the Taj Mahal will only be filed by one of the three officers.

Attorney General of India KK Venugopal, appearing for the state of Uttar Pradesh informed the court that as far as the state government is concerned, the “Agra divisional commissioner, who is also the chairman of the Taj Trapezium Zone shall be responsible for the all the polluting industries operating in the TTZ.”

The Uttar Pradesh Government last week presented a draft vision document in the court saying that despite the top court’s 1996 order, polluting industrial units continued to operate and expand in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) – over 10,400 square km of area surrounding Agra city. Over 1,000 such industries still operate in TTZ.

The Archaeological Survey of India’s counsel ADN Rao indicated that as far as the monument itself is concerned, the ASI is the agency in charge.

Dissatisfied with the working of the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) Authority, environmentalist, MC Mehta, a petitioner in the case, made an argument for setting up a special body in place of the TTZ.

Last week, the the Supreme Court was irked by the lack of coordination between various agencies of the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government over maintenance of the Taj Mahal and pulled up the two governments asking who was responsible to look after the monument

First Published: Jul 30, 2018 23:17 IST