17th century love monument Taj Mahal facing damage by industrial gas

New Delhi, Jan 30, IRNA -- 17th century monument of love, Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is facing deterioration and damage by industrial gas due to several units mushrooming around the Agra tourist attraction, according to some manufacturers' associations.

Due to the availability of low cost natural gas in Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ - a defined area of 10,400 sq km around Taj to protect it from pollution) there is a growth of industries and 'Taj is threatened with deterioration and damage,' the PTI reported quoting the associations as said in their memorandum to Petroleum Minister M. Veerappa Moily, who is also Minister for Environment.

They blame the Petroleum Ministry for the 'unregulated cheap supply of natural gas' to the industrial units operating around the marble monument, famous for its Mughal architecture.

J. Tamil Selvan, President of the Tamil Nadu-based Indian Fireworks Association, said his organization and Northern India Glass Manufacturers' Association (NIGMA) have complained to Moily in this regard.

'Apart from the industrial growth in TTZ, because of the supply of such subsidised fuel, the production pattern in TTZ has also been drastically altered,' the memorandum submitted to Moily said.

'With the increased supply of highly subsidized fuel in the last 10 years, as many as 15 new glass bottle manufacturers have started operations in TTZ directly or indirectly,' it said.

They said a Supreme Court ruling in 1996 had banned the use of coal and coke in industries located in the TTZ with a mandate for switching over to natural gas, and relocating them outside the TTZ or shutting down.

Selvan also cited the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board document, which 'clearly establishes the increase in production capacity by the glass industries since last 10 years' and asked the government to take steps to protect the monument from destruction.

The Taj Mahal, epitome of Mughal art and one of the most famous buildings in the world, is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra city of North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 in memory of his most beloved third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The construction was completed in 22 years.