New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for the poor upkeep of the historic Taj Mahal and asked it to file a fresh vision document within four weeks with respect to the steps it wanted to take in this regard.
A Bench of Justices S.A. Bobde, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Deepak Gupta expressed displeasure to the counsel for not preserving the ancient monument and to restore its pristine glory.
The bench made it clear to the counsel “we will not hear any of your applications without the Vision Document to keep Taj Mahal safe and secure for many centuries. How can we hear the case of a non-vision document? Only after the Vision Document will the case proceed. We are worried about the Taj Mahal. We do not oppose any activity of the government. but we are worried about the location.”
It granted four weeks to the State to file a fresh vision document to be prepared in consultation with the Archaeological Survey of India.
The court had earlier asked the expert panel to prepare a complete vision document incorporating all suggestions including the one to increase the forest cover in the Taj Trapezium Zone. They should also take note of the industries in the zone and pollution caused by them. Zone. The TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.
In the last hearing the court was upset with the damage being caused to Taj and it had orally observed, “Either Taj should be preserved or demolished” and asked the Centre and others to have a coordinated effort in preparing a vision document. The court observed, “If Taj Mahal goes once, you will not get a second chance.”
Meanwhile, the Centre told the court that it had communicated to the Uttar Pradesh government to send a proposal to declare Agra as a heritage city. It said that Archaeological Survey of India was in the process of preparing a heritage plan for Taj Mahal. The Bench granted two months for taking a decision in this regard.
The petitioner had told the court that nothing has been done by the authorities to prevent encroachment in and around the Taj. Meenakshi Dhote, Expert member who prepared the draft vision document also submitted that the list of 1167 industries in the Taj Trapezium Zone given to the court is incorrect. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks. Eom....