New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Uttar Pradesh government to consider declaring certain portions of the area surrounding the Taj Mahal as heritage.
The Uttar Pradesh government told the apex court that it “would be difficult to declare entire Agra as a heritage city”, adding that an Ahmedabad-based Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology was assisting it on declaring areas surrounding the Taj Mahal as heritage.
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Deepak Gupta also extended till November 15 for Uttar Pradesh government to submit a detailed Vision Document for protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal.
The court listed the matter for November 29.
Earlier, the bench had given time till October 15 to the state government, but on Tuesday the counsels representing the state sought extension to prepare the ‘vision document’.
On August 28, the top court had said that “if Taj Mahal goes, you will not get a second chance,” and had urged the authorities to see the larger perspective while dealing with the monument’s protection in Agra.
Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government submitted its first draft report of its ‘vision document’ on protection and preservation of the Taj to the court. It suggested that the entire Taj Mahal precinct should be declared a no-plastic zone and all polluting industries in the region must be closed.
It had suggested that the use of bottled water inside the monument should be prohibited.
For not being able to protect the iconic Taj, which is turning yellow, the bench had even asked the Centre and Uttar Pradesh governments to “shut it down” or “demolish or restore” the Mughal structure.
On December 8, 2017, the top court had asked Uttar Pradesh government to prepare a comprehensive ‘vision document’ and plan for the protection and preservation of Taj Mahal and the environment around it so that historic monument could be there for another 400 years and not just for a generation.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by environmentalist M.C. Mehta seeking protection of the Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area.