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Taj Mahal turns green, Akhilesh orders probe

Visitors at Tajmahal during a foggy day in Agra on Saturday.

Visitors at Tajmahal during a foggy day in Agra on Saturday.

Alarmed by reports that the Taj Mahal in Agra was “turning green” due to an attack of insects, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday ordered a probe into the discolouring of the World Heritage monument.

He vowed to preserve the “natural beauty” of the monument.

Mr. Yadav instructed senior officials, including those of the State Public Works Department, U.P. Pollution Control Board and Archaeological department, to inspect the monument, find the “real cause” of the problem and provide a “quick solution.”

Built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the grandson of Akbar, in memory of his queen Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Bano Begum), the white marble structure is known world over for its splendour and intricate designs. However, in recent weeks, activists in Agra have complained that the structure was developing greenish-black patches on several parts as a result of the release of faeces and dirt by an insect identified as the Geoldichironomus (Chironomus calligraphus).

Activists attributed it to the rising pollution levels of the Yamuna, saying it led to an explosive breeding of the insect in the river, on whose banks stands the 17th century monument.

NGT notice

The phenomenon caught the attention of the National Green Tribunal, which sent notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forest and the U.P. government, among others, earlier this month. The Tribunal acted upon the plea of an environment activist from Agra, D.K. Joshi, who claimed that the dumping of waste in the Yamuna led to the stagnation of the river and the consequent “explosive breeding” of the insect, which is a “biological indicator of water quality and localised water pollution.” Alarmed by the phenomenon, Mr. Yadav vowed that his government “will not allow any damage to happen” to the monument.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 1:59:19 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/taj-mahal-turns-green-akhilesh-orders-probe/article8633956.ece