Restore or demolish Taj Mahal: Supreme Court slams Centre

Either we will shut down Taj Mahal or you demolish or restore it,’ Supreme Court tells Centre

Either we will shut down Taj Mahal or you demolish or restore it,’ Supreme Court tells Centre

The Taj Mahal is one of the world's leading tourist attractions.

"Either we shut down the Taj or demolish it or you restore it", the two-judge bench told the authorities. They court said, "Eighty million go to watch Eiffel Tower which looks like a TV Tower".

The Taj "is more lovely than the Eiffel Tower" and could have solved the country's foreign exchange problem, the judges noted. If you had looked after it your foreign exchange problem would have been solved.

Justices M.B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta said no concrete steps had been taken by the government despite a parliamentary committee recommending steps on the monument's protection, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

The apex court also expressed its dissatisfaction over the Uttar Pradesh government's failure to come out with a vision document to preserve and protect the Taj Mahal, reported PTI.

The federal government told the court a study of the problem was being carried out by the Indian Institute of Technology, which was due to report in four months.

The top court ordered a slew of measures after its remarks. The court has also questioned the chairman of the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ), which is a defined area of 10400 sq km around the Taj Mahal to protect the monument from pollution, about why the court's ban on the expansion of industrial units in the zone was violated.

The judges today said the case would be heard on a day-to-day basis from July 31. Agra lies in an industrial belt, and the city's air pollution levels have risen sharply over the past 30 years. Taj Mahal has to be protected.

The Supreme Court was hearing a petition that calls for proper maintenance of the Taj, a 16th-century marble mausoleum that draws thousands of tourists from India and overseas each year and is a must-see on the itinerary of most dignitaries.