The country's Supreme Court said environmental damage to the white marble Taj was a "hopeless cause" and said the Indian federal government and the administration in Uttar Pradesh state had missed out on "incalculable" revenue by letting it fall into disrepair. The Taj "is more attractive than the Eiffel Tower" and could have solved the country's foreign exchange problem, the judges noted.
The Supreme Court criticised the Uttar Pradesh government for failing to prepare a vision document to preserve and protect the monument.
Comparing the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Taj Mahal, the judges said: "Eighty million go to watch Eiffel Tower, which looks like a TV Tower. If you had looked after it your foreign exchange problem would have been solved", said the judges.
The bench directed the Centre to furnish full details of the steps taken and action required to be taken for protecting the iconic monument.
The Uttar Pradesh government defended itself saying it was also trying to take care of the environment around the historic monument so that it could be there for another 400 years and not just for a generation.
However, the court shot back calling the initiatives vague or of no effect.
The marble monument has been long struggling against deterioration.
It stated that earlier the Taj was turning yellow, but over the past three decades had become brown and green due largely to particulate matter released by industrial units nearby. The latest one prohibits non-locals from offer namaz in the Taj premises. The SC made a decision to hear the case on day-to-day basis to bring the hearing to a logical conclusion for protection of the monument.
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