The top court passed the order on an application by a group of shop owners, who have been allotted space outside the 500-metre radius…reports Asian Lite News
The Supreme Court has directed the Agra Development Authority to remove all business activities within 500 metres from the boundary/peripheral wall of the Taj Mahal.
Senior advocate A.D.N. Rao, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, submitted before a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka that directions should be issued for barring all commercial activities near the Taj Mahal. The mausoleum is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The top court was informed that a similar order was issued in May 2000, but it is appropriate to reiterate the direction, agreed with the submissions, and directed the Agra Development Authority to immediately clear the 500-metre radius of the Taj Mahal of all commercial activities.
“We allow the prayer and thus prayer ‘A’ of IA… reads as under: direct the Agra Development Authority to remove all business activities within 500 metres from the boundary/peripheral wall of the monument Taj Mahal which shall be in tune with Article 14 of the Constitution of India,” it said in its order which was uploaded on Monday.
The top court passed the order on an application by a group of shop owners, who have been allotted space outside the 500-metre radius. Counsel, representing the shop owners, submitted that at the western gate of the monument, illegal business activities are thriving, which is a violation of the court’s order.
Over a dozen reported cases of monkey attacks on unsuspecting tourists at Taj Mahal has created a scare and alarmed visitors. Though the security services have now woken up and are keeping a vigil, the sight of rampaging gangs of simians has become a major problem for the authorities in the Taj city.
The Archaeological Survey of India has put up hoardings and cut-outs to warn tourists to stay away from monkeys, as some tourists try to get friendly with the primates and pose for selfies. Officials said that they were trying to seek help from the Agra Municipal Corporation and some NGOs to round up the monkeys. But so far, no one has come forward with a solution. They say that the state Forest and Wildlife Departments are not supporting them or giving permission to catch the monkeys.
Locals have now demanded drastic action against violent and aggressive monkeys who have made life hell for people living in the old city areas.
Agra, these days, is living in the scare of bovine, canine, and simian menace. Even tourists have become victims. Two years ago, there was a hue and cry when a monkey snatched a new-born from the lap of a mother and killed the infant in Runukta village, 20 kms away.
The district authorities had then made a number of promises but nothing much happened. “The elected representatives have ignored the problem, but the condition is appalling as citizens live in constant fear of attacks from the monkey. Thousands of violent monkeys live in this area along the river Yamuna, as the faithfuls regularly feed them bananas and bread,” the local MLA, Purushottam Khandelwal, expressed his helplessness. (with inputs from Brij Khandelwal)