The insects and algae from the stagnant water of river Yamuna are changing the pristine white colour of Taj Mahal to brown and green, the counsel for the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The archaeological body ASI, which is in charge of maintaining and repairing the iconic Taj Mahal, was on Wednesday, slammed by the SC for not taking appropriate care of the monument.
The apex court, being displeased with the ASI, expressed its concern over Taj Mahal and asked the authorities what steps they have taken to prevent the pollution.
"Supreme Court expressed its displeasure at Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and asked ASI what measures it had taken for the proper upkeep of #TajMahal," ANI reported.
"This situation would not have arisen if the ASI had done its job. We are surprised at the way the ASI is defending itself. You (Centre) please consider if the ASI is needed there or not," a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, who was appearing for the Centre.
Coming down heavily on the ASI, the court also said that the archaeological body should not be in charge of protecting the world-renowned white marble mausoleum since it is not ready to accept that there is a problem.
"The floor in parts of the Taj is dirty because of people walking there. We don't give socks to everyone, only those who don't have, the rest go in their own socks," said ASI.
The government, on the other hand, suggested disposable socks available abroad for people visiting the monument.
Talking about the algae problem the court said, "how have algae reached the top parts?"
"It flew there," said the archaeological body, in reply to which the court countered - "Can algae fly?"
Meanwhile, Mr Nadkarni told the bench that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) was considering the apex court's suggestion to appoint international experts to look into the issue of protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal.
"We don't know whether you have or perhaps don't have the expertise. Even if you have the expertise, you are not utilising it," Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta told the Centre last week.
In March 2018, the Supreme Court asked the Uttar Pradesh government to place before it a draft of vision document on protection and preservation of the Taj.
The court also sought a report on the environment in the Taj Trapezium Zone, which is an area of about 10,400 sq km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan.
The ivory-white marble mausoleum, situated on the south bank of the Yamuna river, is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Taj Mahal, commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1632, is the finest example of Indo-Islamic architecture. Every year, it draws tourists in the national capital from across the world.