The Supreme Court today ordered demolition of parking lot around Taj Mahal in Agra. Observing that the parking lot could be an environmental hazard, the Supreme Court pronounced the verdict, said the lawyer appearing for Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
On an earlier occasion, in August, the Supreme Court had asked the government “Do you want to destroy” the world famous Taj Mahal. The scathing remarks by the apex court had come during the hearing of an application seeking its nod to cut over 400 trees to lay down an additional railway track between Mathura in Uttar Pradesh to Delhi. “This (Taj Mahal) is a world-famous monument and you (government) want to destroy it? Have you seen the recent pictures of Taj? Go to the internet and have a look at it,” a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta had then said. “If you want, then file an affidavit or application and say that the Union of India wants to destroy the Taj,” the bench had said.
The apex court, which was dealing with a petition filed by environmentalist M C Mehta, has been monitoring development in the area to protect the historic Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz in 1631 and which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The court was hearing an application which has sought its nod to cut around 450 trees there in an around 80 km stretch on which the additional railway track would be laid between Mathura and Delhi. The plea has said that in order to clear the bottleneck of train movement, it was necessary to lay down the additional track in the stretch. The court would hear the matter next month.