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SC slams ASI for not protecting Taj Mahal

 New Delhi, May 9: The Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for not being able to protect the iconic Taj Mahal, and asked about the steps being taken to prevent the Mughal structre from being destroyed by insects and algae. A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta was concerned after the ASI told it that the Taj Mahal was getting infected by insects which breed in the stagnant water of the Yamuna river that flows by the monument.

The ASI, which is in-charge of maintaining and repairing monuments, also told the bench that algae are a “big problem” and all those monuments which are on the river bank faces similar issues. The bench asked how could the algae reach the higher reaches of the Taj Mahal. The ASI replied: “It flew there.” The ASI also told the court that the Taj Mahal floor at several places was dirty, because all the people walking on it do not use socks. The bench pulled up the ASI saying the situation would not have been so if it had taken steps to prevent it.
Additional Solicitor General A.N.S. Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) was already considering the top court’s suggestion to appoint international experts to look into the issue of protection and preservation of the 17th century mausoleum. The court has been hearing a plea filed by environmentalist M.C. Mehta seeking protection of the Taj from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area. (IANS)