SC extends deadline to submit document on Taj Mahal protection
The Supreme Court has extended time, till November 15, for Uttar Pradesh Government to submit a vision document on protecting the Taj Mahal from pollution. The state government had told that it's difficult to declare entire Agra as a heritage city. The apex court then asked the state government to consider declaring certain portions of the area, covering the Taj Mahal, as heritage.
Why the extension?
The apex court had earlier given time to the state till October 15, but it was extended, on Tuesday, after the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta and advocate Aishwarya Bhati, who are representing the Uttar Pradesh Government, sought an extension.
The previous hearing
ASG Nadkarni, who appeared for the Centre in the previous hearing, had said that it has talked to the UP Government to send a proposal to declare Agra a 'heritage city'. He said that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was preparing a heritage plan for the Taj, which would be filed with the UNESCO in three months.
Taj Mahal would get 'no second chance': SC
The top court observed that the Taj Mahal would 'of course be the centrepiece', but other issues like vehicular traffic, pollution from the industries operating in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) and the water level of river Yamuna, should also be mentioned in the document. "If the Taj Mahal goes once, you'll not get a second chance," the court had told the project coordinator.
Here's what the petitioner said
Environmentalist MC Mehta, the petitioner in the case, had told the court that green cover in the area has reduced and there were encroachments in and outside the Yamuna flood plains as well. He referred to the court's 1996 order in the case and said several industries have come up in the area, and many of them operate beyond their capacity.