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Pulled up by SC, Govt Forms Panel of Experts From NEERI, IITs to Conserve Taj Mahal on War Footing

A high level inter-ministerial meeting was held on Monday in New Delhi to deliberate on ways to conserve the Taj Mahal and deal with industrial pollution surrounding the monument.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:July 16, 2018, 11:17 PM IST
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Pulled up by SC, Govt Forms Panel of Experts From NEERI, IITs to Conserve Taj Mahal on War Footing
Garbage fill up the polluted banks of Yamuna near Taj Mahal in Agra. (Image: REUTERS)
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New Delhi: Days after being pulled up the Supreme Court over its laxity in preserving the Taj Mahal, the Union government has finally constituted a panel of experts, including those from NEERI, IITs, the government and other bodies, to act on conserving the world heritage site on a war footing.

A high level inter-ministerial meeting was held on Monday in New Delhi to deliberate on ways to conserve the Taj Mahal and deal with industrial pollution surrounding the monument.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari announced the committee under the chairmanship of Minister of Environment Secretary, CK Mishra, who will lead the team of experts from a host of organizations to look into the issues causing havoc on the 17th century monument.

Taking note of the Supreme Court observation, the government will file an affidavit in the court, listing all the steps taken to conserve the Taj.

On July 11, the apex court observed, “There is absolutely no willingness to protect the Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal has to be protected. Either we will shut it down or you demolish or restore it.”

Following the scathing observation of the court, the government held the meet on a priority basis. It was chaired by Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

It was discussed in detail the action points needed to battle air and water pollution in and around Taj Mahal.

ON AIR POLLUTION

Gadkari announced the formation committee under CK Mishra, and said, “The committee will take up the problems on case-to-case basis and take a tough stand on the hazardous industries in the vicinity of Taj Mahal.”

Emphasising on the role of environment in preserving the Taj, Gadkari said that to deal with air pollution, the use of bio fuel, green fuel and electric vehicles will be popularised in Agra.

“An ethanol policy will be introduced for Agra, which will include conversion of bio mass to ethanol during the crop burning season. Further use of ethanol in auto rickshaws and a mass rapid transport system as part of the zero tolerance to pollution policy would also be introduced,” he said.

ON WATER POLLUTION

To deal with water pollution in the Yamuna, Gadkari said, “Cleaning the Yamuna falls under the Namami Gange project since it is a tributary of the Ganga and several projects have already been taken up to make the river pollution-free.”

As of now, 36 projects with a total budget of Rs 4,000 crores for Yamuna have been planned. The concerned ministry is working on the Detailed Project Report to be completed in the next few months. There are 11 projects in Delhi on Yamuna, while it is going to issue tender for the 12th project soon.

OTHER PROPOSALS

Beatification of the Yamuna Riverfront in Agra is also on the cards.

This will be followed by afforestation along the arterial river along with construction of rubber dam, solid waste management, developing a 35km-long garden along the water front across Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.

Uttar Pradesh CM, Yogi Adityanath, who also attended the meeting, said, “Construction of rubber dam in downstream Yamuna and STPs on the Yamuna in Mathura, Vrindavan and Agra are being taken up.”

Minister for Environment Forest & Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan, MoS Culture, Mahesh Sharma and MoS Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Satyapal Singh were also present at the meeting.

The Archaeological Survey of India has put forth a 3-step programme to preserve the Taj, including scientific cleaning such as using mudpack; structural conservation work that looks into damages, repairs; and tourist facilitation, which looks into making Taj a comfortable experience for the tourists.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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