Updated: April 16, 2020 4:32:18 pm
The Supreme Court, which had earlier slammed the UP government for its failure to maintain and preserve the Taj Mahal, extended the deadline for submission of the state government’s Vision Document on the protection of the world heritage site. The court is hearing a plea filed by petitioner M C Mehta, an environmentalist, who told the bench that the green cover in the area has reduced and there were encroachments in and outside the Yamuna floodplains.
The Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday told the apex court that it would be difficult to declare Agra a ‘heritage city’, as proposed by the Centre last month. The apex court asked the state government to contemplate declaring certain portions of the area surrounding Taj Mahal as heritage, responding to which the state government informed the court that an Ahmedabad-based Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology was assisting it on the same.
In last month’s hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta and advocate Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, had said the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) team, which was drawing up the document, was also looking at a comprehensive plan to deal with all issues.
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The Supreme Court had earlier rebuked the Centre, the UP government and the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) Authority for their failure to restore the glory of the Taj Mahal. The TTZ spreads over 10,400 sq km across the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in UP and Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.
It had come down heavily on the UP government for filing a draft report of the vision document on protection of the Taj Mahal and observed it was “surprising” that the ASI, which was responsible for preserving the white marble mausoleum, was not even consulted in the process.
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