The Uttar Pradesh government was severely criticized for its lack of planning to protect and preserve the Taj Mahal. "Either we will shut it down or you demolish or restore it", news agency IANS quoted the bench.
"You can shut down the Taj. Either you demolish it or you restore it".
The bench also issued notice to the TTZ authority on a plea seeking contempt action them for allegedly letting up new industries to come up in the area.
The court is monitoring development in and around the Taj Mahal.
Since then, the court has begun implementing various preservation laws - the most recent being that non-locals are prohibited from offering prayers on the monument's premises - but officials have declared the case a "hopeless cause", rebuking the local government for its failure to devise a preservation plan swiftly enough.
The judges said, "Eighty million go to watch Eiffel Tower, which looks like a TV Tower".
The court said the Taj Mahal is more handsome than the Eiffel Tower and could have solved the country's foreign exchange problem. Because of the massive air pollution in and around the city of Agra, where the Taj Mahal stands, its marble facade has changed from pearl white to a greenish brown, the judges complained. "Our Taj is more attractive". Taj Mahal draws thousands of tourists from India and overseas each year.
When Nadkarni said that Union Tourism Ministry could give more details about the tourists visiting India, the bench observed, "Do you realise the loss to the country due to this sheer lethargy?" The court summoned the chairman of Taj Trapezium Zone and Commissioner of Agra to be present before it to explain why industrial units were coming up in the area in violation of its order. The Supreme Court also said that had the government taken the right measures for maintaining the Taj Mahal, it could have contributed heavily to the national exchequer.
In addition to the damage caused by pollution, thousands of tiny insects that breed in the rubbish-infested Yamuna River beside it had also infested the monument, their excrement corroding and further staining the marble. The apex court said, it will hear the matter daily from the 31st of this month.
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