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The Supreme Court on Friday stayed its order directing demolition of a multi-level car parking being constructed near the iconic Taj Mahal at Agra. The apex court asked the authorities to maintain status quo at the site, which is around one kilometre from the eastern gate of the 17th century monument, and said no further construction will be carried out there. A bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Dipak Gupta asked additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh govenrment to file a comprehensive policy on preservation and pollution in the Taj Trapezium Zone and nearby areas. The Taj Trapezium Zone is an area of 10,400 sq km around the historic Taj Mahal and is aimed at protecting the ancient monument. Mehta told the bench that the government was committed to protect the Taj Mahal and he will file a comprehensive policy regarding this before the court. The court fixed the matter for further hearing on November 15. The apex court had on October 24 ordered the demolition of the multi-level car parking which is under construction. The apex court, which is dealing with a petition filed by environmentalist M C Mehta, has been monitoring development in the area to protect the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631.
The historic white marble mausoleum is also a Unesco World Heritage Site. Mehta, in his PIL, has sought protection of the Taj from the ill-effects of polluting gases and deforestation in and around the area. The apex court had earlier passed a slew of directions to protect the monument.