SC stays its earlier order to demolish parking lot near Taj Mahal

RSTV Bureau

Taj-Mahal-Agra-India-21012017The Supreme Court has stayed its earlier order that directed the demolition of a multi-level car parking that was being constructed near the Taj Mahal at Agra.

The apex court asked the authorities to maintain status quo at the site, which is about a kilometre from the eastern gate of the monument, and firmly said no further construction will be carried out.

“We do not know how hotels can be built there. The problem is this that all measures seem to have been taken are ad-hoc. It cannot be like this,” a bench comprising Justices MB Lokur and Deepak Gupta said.

A bench comprising of Justices MB Lokur and Dipak Gupta asked additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh govenrment to file a comprehensive policy on preservation and pollution in the Taj Trapezium Zone and nearby areas.

The Taj Trapezium Zone is an area of 10,400 sq km around the 17th century monument and is aimed at protecting the ancient monument.

Mehta told the bench that the government was committed to protect the Taj Mahal and he will file a comprehensive policy on it before the court.  Mehta has also sought protection of the Taj from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area.

The court then fixed the matter for further hearing on November 15.

On October 24, the apex court had ordered the demolition of the multi-level car parking which was under construction.

The apex court, which is dealing with a petition filed by environmentalist MC Mehta, has been monitoring development in the area to protect the Taj Mahal.

The apex court had earlier passed a slew of directions to protect the monument.

The historic monument, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631.

(With inputs from PTI)