Monday, June 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Jagmohan visits Taj, skips corridor project

Agra, June 22
A day after ordering halt to work on a heritage corridor project near the Taj Mahal here, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Jagmohan today visited the 17th century monument of love and Agra Fort but did not go to the site of the controversial project.

Mr Jagmohan utilised his day-long visit to get a first hand feel of the problems relating to the upkeep of the Taj and Agra Fort, where Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan languished as a prisoner and gazed at his white-marbled symbol of love.

Later addressing a press conference, he said work on the multi-crore Taj heritage project had been stopped since it was a “total violation” of the Ancient Monuments Act and the environment act.

He said no approval had been sought for the project from any of the authorities concerned and no letter authorising the project had been issued by any Central agency.

He said he had come to know about the project only after reading about it in a Delhi newspaper.

He said: “You can’t interfere in the flow of the river as this is fraught with dangerous consequences. In the case of the corridor project, the attempt to divert the flow of the Yamuna could result in the flooding of Mehtab bagh across the river from the Taj and the backflow could damage the Taj itself.”

Asked whether this was the opinion of experts, he said it was his personal opinion.

Mr Jagmohan said all he could say at this stage was that the project was not “proper and against statutory provisions and as such not sustainable.”

He said the Uttar Pradesh Government had been asked to look into the matter and it had “very kindly” ordered the stoppage of work on it. — PTI

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