The Taj Mahal, a world heritage site and one of the finest examples of Mughal architecture, will come under the Clean India Campaign - a government programme aimed at improving hygiene and cleanliness in travel destinations.
The white marble mausoleum located in Agra will be adopted in partnership with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at a event in Taj Khema Hotel presided by Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi on Wednesday. Before inaugurating the Clean India Campaign, Chiranjeevi will visit the monument with officials of the ministry and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) director general.
"It is the crown jewel among the tourist destinations in India and naturally is a priority destination under the campaign Clean India programme," IANS reported," the ministry said in a statement.
The ONGC has taken upon its shoulders the responsibility of cleaning the 561 ft long marble mausoleum and its premises.
"It's a very important programme for us and we have made elaborate preparations. Agra deserves higher standards of cleanliness," District Magistrate Zuher Bin Sagir told IANS.
Agra Municipal Commissioner DK Singh said the ASI currently maintains the cleanliness standards inside the Taj Mahal, while the Agra Development Authority oversees the roads to the 17th centuray monument. He added that the area close to the Taj Mahal - Taj Ganj, the streets and the close by lanes are maintained by the municipal corporation.
Apart from the Taj Mahal, ASI has given nod to ONGC's proposal for adopting five more monuments under the Clean India campaign. The monuments include Ellora, Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, the Red Fort in Delhi, Golkonda Fort near Hyderabad, and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.
The government's move to launch the Clean India Campaign comes after the ministry shed light on tourists' deep concerns with the unsatisfactory hygiene conditions in travel spots. Around 5.7 million foreigners visit India every year.