The Supreme Court on Wednesday criticised the Centre and authorities for being lethargic and not acting fast to protect the iconic Taj Mahal, saying that the preservation of the 16th-century historic monument is a "hopeless cause".
“Either we will shut down the Taj Mahal or you demolish or restore it,” the apex court told the government.
The court has been hearing a petition filed by environmentalist MC Mehta that called for better maintenance of the mausoleum.
The apex court pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to create a proper plan to preserve and protect the monument, which is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It asked the Centre to finalise details, plans and action required to protect the structure.
Justices Deepak Gupta and MB Lokur said the government had not taken solid steps despite a Parliamentary Standing Committee report on preserving the Taj Mahal.
“Eighty million go to watch Eiffel Tower, which looks like a TV Tower. Our Taj is more beautiful,” the judges said while comparing the Taj Mahal to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
“If you had looked after it, your foreign exchange problem would have been solved,” the court said, adding, “Do you realise the loss cost to the country due to your apathy?”
In a reply, the Centre told the court that Indian Insititute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, is studying the level of air pollution surrounding the Taj Mahal and will submit its evaluation report within four months. It said that a special committee had been set up to find out the source of pollution in the concerned area.
The court added it will hear the matter on a regular basis from July 31.
On July 9, the Supreme Court said namaz cannot be offered inside the premises of Taj Mahal.
Read the complete story here: SC bars non-residents from praying in Taj Mahal mosque