Taj Mahal
In picture: Taj Mahal.Creative Commons

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, Aug 28 sought detailed suggestions to preserve the historic Taj Mahal from respective parties in the case pertaining to maintenance of the monument. The parties include the main petitioner, MC Mehta, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Uttar Pradesh government, among others.

A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur, also comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, asked Mehta to file his suggestions and recommendations to the government. The matter has been fixed for further hearing after a month.

During the course of the hearing, Justice Lokur observed, "Ecosystem and environment are important facets of the vision document and thereby should be kept in mind before any steps or suggestion being taken in the preservation of Taj Mahal."

The apex court in its last hearing had pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government for not maintaining and preserving the monument. It had also observed that the Taj Mahal was being preserved poorly.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, a senior lawyer appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, submitted to the top court that instead of entertaining inter-se disputes amongst industries, as raised by National Chamber of Commerce, it should focus and concentrate on the vision document.

The preservation of the Taj Mahal calls for a two-fold approach. The first is the protection of the monument itself and its immediate environs. The second calls for preventive measures to be taken in Agra and its outlying areas.

On July 24, the Uttar Pradesh government submitted its draft vision document to the court on the restoration of Taj Mahal and assured that it will take several steps for the conservation of the heritage structure.

The proposed draft vision aims to make the entire area near Taj Mahal a plastic-free zone, prohibit the construction activities on the riverbed of the Yamuna and improve traffic management.

Meanwhile, conservationists have demanded a heritage city status for UP's Agra city citing that there are three world heritage monuments such as- the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Two other monuments - Sikandra and Itmad-ud-daula are also being considered as heritage buildings.

(With inputs from ANI)