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Monument of Love cries out for attention, maintenance

Monday, 26 August 2013 | PNS | New Delhi

The Government’s apathy is gradually turning Taj Mahal, India’s showpiece to the world and country’s highest revenue generating monument, into a picture of neglect.

An audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) talks about cracks in the walls, seepage, poor maintenance and unauthorised construction around the premises that was brought under the wings of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in 1920. Like many other monuments in the country, which are becoming victim of encroachment and unauthorised construction, the situation at Taj Mahal is no different.

The CAG team noticed encroachment within the premises of the monuments near Khan-i-Alam’s Bagh. “Neither action was taken by the ASI to remove the encroachment nor was it mentioned in the list of 249 encroachments provided by the ASI for all the centrally protected monuments. “We also noticed that only one out of 24 unauthorised constructions around the Taj Mahal was demolished. We further noticed that an old temple next to the outside boundary on the eastern gate was constructed without authorisation,” the report said.

The ASI, under the Union Culture Ministry, remained a mute spectator to this violation as neither it took any action nor lodged a complaint with the concerned authorities on these unauthorised constructions, it added. Also, the Circle office failed to properly preserve the outer boundary of the Taj complex. “The left side boundary wall at the eastern gate was in poor condition. No conservation work was carried out by the circle office on this wall. Large nails were dug into the 400 year old wall and animals were routinely tethered to them,” said the report.

Cracks in the outer walls, broken stones fixed in the wall, missing designs, use of cement in the wall, seepage, fixing of plastic pipes, and broken jails were visible, highlighting poor conservation. What’s worst, lack of coordination mainly among the chemical treatment/cleaning with circle office works was also noticed. There was a missing design from the main Iron Gate while white floral designs had turned black and cracks were also noticed in the design.

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