The Supreme Court has refused to lift the status quo order on construction of a multi-level parking near the iconic Taj Mahal, saying there is no harm in tourists walking up to the monument.
“You can’t get Taj again if it is destroyed. As it is, pollution in Agra is very high. We don’t want you to have an ad hoc measures. Have a long-term perspective to protect the monument. You don’t have a vision document for the protection of Taj. That’s the whole problem,” the court told the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday.
The apex court rapped the state government for not coming out with a comprehensive policy to protect and preserve the beauty of Taj Mahal, saying “we need sustainable development”.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, said it had all the requisite permissions to construct a multi-level parking a kilometre away from the eastern gate of Taj Mahal and it would be difficult for the tourists if this was not allowed to be made.’
“Why don’t you construct the parking lot beyond 1.5 km? Tourists can walk up to the monuments,” the bench said.
Mehta said if the parking area was not constructed, there would be traffic congestion which will increase the inconvenience for tourists, especially the foreigners.
To this, the bench said, “Don’t worry about foreign tourists, they love to walk”.
The court also asked the ASG where were over one lakh trees planted under the compensatory afforestation scheme.
“Your forest department says that you don’t have land for plantation of trees. You can’t say that you will plant one lakh tree but I will show you the land after one year,” it said.
The Taj Mahal which was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631 is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Source of news : Indiatimes