Expressing its displeasure over the manner the historic Taj Mahal was preserved, the Supreme Court on Wednesday slammed the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh state government.
It said, "Either we will shut down the Taj or you demolish or restore it."
Headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, the division bench's comments came while hearing a petition seeking proper maintenance of the historic Taj.
The 16th-century marble mausoleum is regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and draws thousands of tourists from India and abroad each year.
While expressing its strongest displeasure, the Apex Court observed, "Taj, more beautiful than the Eiffel Tower" and could have solved the country's foreign exchange problem. But the present situation and condition is pathetic. The way it was preserved, protected and maintained paints a sorry picture about the historic Taj.
"Eighty million go to watch Eiffel Tower which looks like a TV tower. Our Taj is more beautiful. If you had looked after it, your foreign exchange problem would have been solved,"the bench said.
The Apex Court slammed the UP government over its alleged failure to come out with a vision document to preserve and protect the Taj and also asked for details on what the Centre had done.
It asked the Chairman, of the Taj Trapezium Zone to explain the violation of the court's ban on the expansion of industrial units in the zone.
In May, the court had noted that the monument had become yellowish earlier and was now brown and green because of pollution.
The case would be heard on a day-to-day basis from July 31, the bench ruled. (UNI)