With an aim to check the “yellowing” of the Taj Mahal due to air pollution, the Central government has chalked out plans. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced that Agra will be converted into a city that relies only on “biofuel”. Apart from this, Gadkari has also announced 36 projects worth Rs 4,000 crore. Gadkari set a December deadline for addressing the water pollution that affects the iconic monument. This came days after the Supreme Court had lashed out at the Centre and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) over their inabilities to protect the Taj Mahal. It had also warned that issuing the apex court would “shut it down” and the authorities should “demolish or restore” the Mughal structure. The apex court also rapped the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to come out with a vision document to protect the popular monument.
“Uttar Pradesh (government) is not bothered. No action plan or vision document has come yet. Either you demolish it (Taj) or you restore it. We want you to give us an action plan of what you propose to do. We will hear it and finally dispose it. If it has to be shut down, let it be shut,” said the top court bench which is monitoring measures to preserve the Taj. The bench said it will take up the matter on a day-to-day basis from July 31.
A high-level inter ministerial meeting was held here today to deliberate on the issues and action to be taken on a war footing to conserve the iconic Mughal monument. The meeting, which was chaired by Gadkari and attended by Minister for Environment Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Satyapal Singh and Uttar Pradesh Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, mainly focussed on action points needed to overcome air and water pollution in and around Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world.
The government has formed a committee comprising officials of the environment ministry, experts from NEERI, IITs and various other forums to look into the issue of industrial pollution around the Taj Mahal, Gadkari said yesterday. The committee will be headed by C K Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.