India’s Supreme Court has threatened to shut the Taj Mahal as it warned environmental degradation was a “hopeless cause” and castigated the authorities for not acting fast enough to protect the 17th century white marble monument.
“Either we shut down the Taj or demolish it or you restore it” the two-judge bench warned the government on Wednesday in response to a petition by an environmental activist, concerned over the steadily worsening state of one of the world’s seven wonders.
In their observations on the recent discolouration of the monument, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum to his wife Mumtaz Mahal in Agra, 153 miles southeast of New Delhi, the judges took a dig at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
“Eighty million people visit the Eiffel tower which looks like a TV tower” the judges told India’s federal government and the administration in Uttar Pradesh state, where the Taj is located.
“Our Taj is more beautiful, and if you had looked after it your country’s foreign exchange problem would have been solved (through additional visitors)” the judges added.
Enduring “apathy” in preserving the Taj had resulted in incalculable revenue losses, it indicated and reprimanded the state government for failing to implement measures detailed in a recent parliamentary report to protect the monument.
In response federal government lawyers informed the court that the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur in north India was assessing pollution levels near the Taj and would submit its report within four months. Thereafter, a special committee would be constituted to deal with the matter.
The Supreme Court declared it would hear the matter daily from July 31, in further indication of the seriousness it attaches to the Taj’s preservation.
Earlier in May the same court had directed the federal and provincial authorities to appoint international experts to rectify the “serious colour change” in the Taj’s once gleaming white marble due to continuing pollution levels.
It stated that earlier the Taj was turning yellow, but over the past three decades had become brown and green due largely to particulate matter released by industrial units nearby.
Smoke and toxic effluents from tens of thousands of household generators running on kerosene and diesel added to the contamination in the world’s eighth most polluted city, further damaging the monument.
Additionally, clusters of tiny insects that bred in the garbage-choked Yamuna River that lies beside the Taj had also infested the monument, their corrosive excrement further staining its marble.
Periodically coating the Taj with a herbal ‘mud pack’ to mitigate this damage had done little or nothing to repair its blemished marble, experts said.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/11/supreme-court-slams-indian-government-discolouration-taj-mahal/