India's Supreme Court has criticised the government for what it calls a "failure" to protect the Taj Mahal, one of the world's leading tourist attractions.
Slamming both the federal and state government and other authorities for the “apathy” and “lethargy” in their efforts to preserve and restore the Taj Mahal, the Supreme Court on Wednesday gave vent to its anger and frustration, reports The Times of India.
It said, “You can shut down the Taj. You can demolish it if you like, and you can also do away with it if you have already decided.”
The court comments came in response to a petition citing concerns about the impact of pollution on the 17th Century monument.
Additional Solicitor General A S Nadkarni, who appeared for the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), was also told by the bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta: “Uttar Pradesh (government) is not bothered. No action plan or vision document has come yet. Either you demolish it (Taj) or you restore it.”
The SC told the Centre, “You can shut down the Taj. You can demolish it if you like and you can also do away with it if you have already decided ... No action plan or vision document has come yet. Either you demolish it (Taj) or you restore it.” The SC decided to hear the case on day-to-day basis to bring the hearing to a logical conclusion for protection of the monument.
The court also noted that the authorities were allowing expansion of industrial units in the vicinity of Taj Mahal which could add to the pollution. The court summoned the chairman of Taj Trapezium Zone and Commissioner of Agra to be present before it to explain why industrial units were coming up in the area in violation of its order.