On August 28, the Centre told the Supreme Court that it had communicated to the Uttar Pradesh government to send to declare Agra a Heritage City
The Supreme Court on Tuesday extended until November 15 the time for the Uttar Pradesh government to give its vision document on protecting the Taj Mahal from pollution, after the state told the court that it had started an exercise to determine how to give parts of Agra city ‘heritage’ status.
Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta and additional advocate general Aishwarya Bhatti, appearing for the UP government, said that Ahmedabad-basedCentre for Environment Planning and Technology has been asked to prepare a report on how Agra can be declared a ‘heritage’ city, but expressed difficulty in extending the status to the entire city.
“There is a possibility of identifying some area surrounding the Taj Mahal that can be declared as heritage,” Mehta suggested, also mentioning Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort as monument that could fall in the heritage category. He told the bench headed by Justice MB Lokur said that “in principle” there was no objection in declaring all of Agra a heritage city, but that would have “several ramifications”.
On August 28, the Centre had told the court that it had communicated to the Uttar Pradesh government to send a proposal to declare Agra a heritage city. It had also said that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was in the process of preparing a heritage plan for the Taj Mahal, which would be filed with the The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in three months.
Bhatti said that officials from UP government had visited Ahmedabad to study the procedure followed to declare the city as ‘heritage’. However, they learnt that only around 5.5kms in Ahmedabad was given the heritage tag. Besides seeking an extension in submitting a vision document, which was to be given by October 15, Bhati told the bench that School of Planning and Architecture has asked for three additional experts from the field of water resources, air pollution and a hydrologist to prepare the paper.