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Centre tells Uttar Pradesh to stop
construction work near Taj Mahal
June 21, 2003 00:34 IST
Taking serious note of reports that construction of a corridor behind the Taj Mahal, a world heritage monument, continues despite objections, the Centre on Friday told the Uttar Pradesh government to immediately stop the work.
Seeking a probe into how permission for the construction was given, Union Culture Minister Jagmohan in a letter to Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday said, "The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has declared the Taj and the Agra Fort as World Heritage Sites, which requires a certain ambience to be maintained, which has not been done."
"Nor has the ministry of culture, which is concerned with such sites and also with the implementation of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, been consulted."
The local Archaeological Survey of India officer has lodged a report with the Agra police in this regard, the letter said.
The corridor did not have clearance from the Centre under the Environment Protection Act, the minister has pointed out.
Jagmohan, who is planning to visit the site on Sunday, discussed the issues with all concerned agencies in Delhi.
Amongst others, UP environment secretary, Agra Development Authority vice-chairman and the commissioner of its Agra division attended the meeting.
The Union culture ministry had on June 16 told the state government to stop construction work, which the state chief secretary had agreed would happen with immediate effect.
However, recent media reports suggested work of the corridor had not stopped.
More reports from Uttar Pradesh