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India losing tourists, forex; Eiffel Tower draws eight times more crowd: SC

"Do you realise the loss to the country due to this sheer lethargy? Foreign exchange, infrastructure, everything is lost due to this" asked a bench of justices

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

It may surprise the reader to know that after it was finished, Shah Jahan visited the Taj only twice
The bench also asked ASG Nadkarni about the income collected from tourists visiting Taj Mahal and Agra

"Sheer lethargy and apathy" of the authorities were making lose tourists and foreign exchange despite having the Mahal, as the of was drawing eight times more tourists than the iconic mausoleum in Agra, the said on Wednesday.

Comparing the and the Eiffel Tower, it said that while only 10 million foreign tourists had visited last year, was thronged by 80 million of them.

"There is the in Perhaps it is nothing compared to 80 million people come there (Paris). This is eight time more than what we have. You can destroy the Taj, we don't want to do it," a bench of Justices and said.

During the hearing, the bench asked (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, as to how many tourists come to in a year.

When Nadkarni said 10 million tourists visited India in 2017, the bench observed, "we are happy to have only 10 million people."

"There is sheer lethargy and apathy. People (abroad) are making money, but no one is bothered (here)," the apex court said while slamming the government and the authorities for their failure to take concrete steps to protect and preserve the Taj.

When the ASG said the Ministry could give more details about the tourists visiting India, the bench observed, "They will not bother. Why will they bother about tourists?"

"Do you realise the loss to the country due to this sheer lethargy? Foreign exchange, infrastructure, everything is lost due to this. There is a loss to can do it, but there is apathy," the bench said.

The apex court also asked the ASG, "Have you seen the Taj? Have you seen "

To this, the ASG said, "Taj obviously is much better".

Referring to the Eiffel Tower, the bench said in India, there were concerns about security, but in other countries, they have made towers like "TV towers" from where tourists can have a "bird's eye view" of the entire city.

"We are obsessed with security. At every place (in foreign cities), you have towers to have bird's eye view of the city. But in India, you have security problems. There are no towers to look at the city," the bench said.

The bench also asked Nadkarni about the income collected from tourists visiting Taj and

When Nadkarni said he would have to check on it, the bench said, "part of the income generated from this (Taj) monument has to be considered in this income".

The bench also dealt with the submissions of environmentalist M C Mehta, who has filed the petition raising the issue of protection and preservation of the Taj Mahal, about giving the status of a heritage city.

During the hearing, one of the advocates told the bench that soon there would be time restriction and time slot for tourists visiting Taj.

The court observed that the time-slot for visiting the Taj could be imposed as was done in places like

The apex court has been monitoring developments in the area to protect the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal in the memory of his wife Mumtaz at Its construction was completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The ivory white marble mausoleum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

First Published: Wed, July 11 2018. 20:17 IST