New Delhi: The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that the Joint Secretary of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Commissioner of the Agra Division are responsible for maintenance of the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ).
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told a bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta that its Director General will be responsible for the maintenance of the 17th century Mughal monument.
On July 26, the apex court had made it clear that somebody has to take responsibility for protection of the Taj Mahal and asked the Centre to inform it as to which departments of the Central and Uttar Pradesh governments would be responsible for the maintenance and protection of the TTZ.
TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.
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.
During the hearing, the apex court agreed with Mehta's suggestion that TTZ committee should be "re-vamped", and asked him to give suggestions in writing by August 30 to Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre.
Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government, submitted its first draft report of its 'Vision Document' on protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal before the court, suggesting that the entire Taj Mahal precinct should be declared a no-plastic zone and all polluting industries in the region closed.
It also suggested use of bottled water inside the monument should be prohibited and more tourism hubs should be created.
The court had earlier slammed Uttar Pradesh government for not be able to come up with report to protect Taj Mahal that was built by Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
For not being able to protect the iconic Taj Mahal, which is turning yellow, the bench had even asked the Centre and Uttar Pradesh governments to "shut it down" or "demolish or restore" the Mughal structure.