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The Taj Mahal and its surroundings that attracted global criticism due to the presence of loads of garbage in River Yamuna and nearby places will undergo massive restoration and cleanliness drive in 2014 under Central Government’s strategy ‘Clean India Campaign’. The 365-year-old Unesco-ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) heritage monument is being protected through Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) now extended to an urban zone of 10,400sqkm area from air/ground/water pollutions from industries and local transport in and around Agra City.

Natural gas based environment friendly cupola furnace, scientific waste management systems and proper drainage systems are being introduced to help the cluster of nearly 147 small scale industries nearby reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and waste as well.

Highlight of the Campaign

• The drainage system in the main campus and around Taj Mahal would also undergo massive repair and restoration.

• Cleaning of the walls, roofs and steps would be done with special chemicals and natural chemical agents so that there is no corrosion or erosion of the marbles/stones.

• The ASI is carrying out three different types of restoration/cleaning and conservation works inside Taj Mahal: The 200 feet tall Royal Entrance, the roof/terrace and walls of this Royal Entrance and the Mehmaan-khana (an ancient building where special guests used to stay).

• Development of natural gas based environmentally cupola

• Development of scientific waste management system for the entire TTZ

The ASI has constituted a special panel of experts for this purpose. It comprises conservation architects, archaeologists, ecologists, sanitation experts, town planners, engineers, sound experts, conservators and senior officials of the Union Ministry of Culture. For the restoration of these three places, the ASI is using the ancient ingredients to prepare the mortar. These ingredients are lime, jiggery, banana, jute-shred, Urad Dal and powdered thick outer-shell/cover of Bael fruit.

The public sector ONGC, as part of its CSR-drive, has announced to carry out a sustained drive to maintain clean and hygienic environment in and around Taj Mahal: one of the Seven Wonders of World. ONGC, besides keeping garbage bins around the premises of Taj Mahal, will also carry out heritage site cleaning operations daily with specially trained personnel.

Apart from the Taj Mahal, ASI has given nod to ONGC’s proposal for adopting five more monuments under the Clean India campaign. The monuments include Ellora, Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, the Red Fort in Delhi, Golkonda Fort near Hyderabad, and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.

The government’s move to launch the Clean India Campaign comes after the ministry shed light on tourists’ deep concerns with the unsatisfactory hygiene conditions in travel spots.

Nearly 5.7 million foreigners visit different tourist places in India with Taj Mahal being their greatest attraction. However, ill-sanitation, garbage dumps, stinking ponds or water pools and unhygienic conditions cause as a major damper to attracting more number of tourists. Hence, the 12th Five Year Plan aims to address these issues.

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