Agra MP demands expert investigations for Taj Mahal

Agra: Bharatiya Janata Party`s (BJP) Lok Sabha member from Agra Ram Shankar Katheria Saturday demanded proper and scientific investigations by experts to reassure the people that the world heritage monument Taj Mahal`s foundation was fine.

Two weeks ago, Katheria was quoted by London`s Daily Mail as saying: "Taj would collapse in five years." This triggered an uproar and conservationists expressed concern over the health of the 17th century monument.

Welcoming the Supreme Court`s suo moto cognizance of the alarming media reports, he told mediapersons that the reports submitted in the past by several organisations, including the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI,) were not clear and left many questions unanswered.

Katheria said the Yamuna river was a critical component of the Taj Mahal complex and a river without water could only endanger the safety of the monument.

He demanded that the artificial park developed by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) between the river and the foundation of the Taj Mahal should be urgently cleared and dismantled to allow the river water to flow close to the structure, as it was some years ago.

A retired ASI official had said requesting anonymity: "Water in the river is an essential pre-requisite to maintain the massive foundation that supports a complex system of wells, arches and wooden spoked wheels. Dry ambience could fragment and disintegrate the sal wood."