IF it were not for Culture Minister Jagmohan, the foundations for an Appu Ghar and a water park behind the Taj Mahal in Agra would have been laid by now. He is yet to understand how the Uttar Pradesh government could go ahead with the Rs.175-crore project without getting the sanction of his Ministry. The Taj being a World Heritage Monument, it is the responsibility of his Ministry to ensure that its ambience as per World Heritage guidelines is maintained.
Talking to Frontline, Jagmohan made it clear that he would ensure that the project did not make a comeback in some other form. "I will not let this happen. After all, apart from the legalities, the project involves the Taj Mahal and the Agra Fort which are World Heritage Sites. How can anybody conceive the ridiculous idea of having an Appu Ghar or water park next to the monuments?" he asked.
He said: "Matters pertaining to the Taj and other monuments in Agra involve sensitive issues concerning our history, heritage, environment and ecology and have to be handled with care and caution."
The Minister has already met the U.P. government officials concerned, including Chief Secretary D.S. Bagga, and cautioned them against such moves. He explained to them how India's image would suffer internationally if UNESCO were to remove the monument from the World Heritage List.