The Supreme Court blasted both the central government and the Uttar Pradesh Government over worsening the condition of Taj Mahal and stressed that, “Either we will shut down the Taj or you demolish or restore it.” The judges also emphasised that Taj Mahal is more beautiful than the Eiffel Tower and could have easily solved the country’s foreign exchange issue.
“Eighty million go to watch Eiffel Tower which looks like a TV Tower. Our Taj is more beautiful. If you had looked after it your foreign exchange problem would have been solved,” said the judges.
In spite of a Parliamentary Committee’s report on the severe effects of pollution on the monument, both the state and central governments had failed to take necessary action, the court observed. The top court was hearing a petition that calls for the right maintenance of the iconic monument.
The Supreme Court had previously blamed the Archeological Survey of India for its failure to take the necessary steps to protect and maintain the iconic monument built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.
“Uttar Pradesh is not bothered. There is no action plan or vision document. We want you to give us an action plan as to what you propose to do. We will hear it and finally dispose (of) it. If it has to be shut down let it be shut,” the bench of Justice MB Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta told additional solicitor general AS Nadkarni who turned up on behalf of the ministry of environment and forests.
“The Centre has taken a serious view of the matter. The committee will find out the exact source of pollution in and around Taj. Three to four months are required for the report to be prepared,” the Nadkarni was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times.
Nadkarni also told the court that the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is performing an evaluation of air pollution levels in and around the wonder and would submit a report within four months.