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Tourists disappointed as smog engulfs Taj Mahal

Amid the rising air pollution in northern India, a thick layer of smog has engulfed Agra, leaving tourists disappointed as they are unable to see the iconic Taj Mahal properly.

People visit the smog engulfed Taj Mahal in Agra (HT_PRINT)
People visit the smog engulfed Taj Mahal in Agra (HT_PRINT)

Domestic as well as overseas visitors have expressed dismay after they failed to capture the moments in their camera with the monument in the background.

On Monday, Agra District Magistrate Bhanu Chandra Goswami directed officials during a review meeting to take necessary steps to control the rising air pollution in the city. He has asked the authorities concerned to sprinkle water at the construction sites.

Shakeel Rafiq, a local tour guide, said tourists are disappointed when they do not find the Taj Mahal in the background in their pictures.

“On Sunday, I was with an elderly couple from Germany. We visited the monument at 8 am, but could not see the Taj properly from a distance. It made them disappointed,” Rafiq said.

Similar was the case with some tourists from Poland who had to visit around noon as they could not get a view of the Mughal-era monument in the morning, he said.

Rajeev Saxena, president of the Tourism Guild of Agra, said it is a serious concern for tourists. Four tourists from the US cancelled a tour of other monuments in Agra after visiting the Taj Mahal as they could not see it properly, he said.

Saxena also said construction activities near the Taj has made the things worse in the past three years.

When contacted, Dr Vishwanath Sharma, regional officer at Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board, Agra, said, “Measures are being taken to control air pollution. Government agencies have been asked to sprinkle water at construction sites mainly near the Taj Mahal. Besides, waster burning is banned in the city and authorities have been asked to penalise violators.”

“The traffic police have been asked to divert traffic mainly from the spots where traffic jams occur,” Sharma told PTI.

Ranjit Kumar, assistant professor at Dayalbagh Educational Institute and a local environmentalist, said, “Emissions from farm fires in Punjab and Haryana affect the air quality of Agra during this period. Taj Mahal is situated on the bank of river Yamuna. Yamuna and Ganga basin act as vacuum and pollution gets transported through the basin and the city like Agra situated over the Indo-Gangetic basin becomes polluted.”

“Increase in air pollution and smog over the Agra region may damage the surface of white marbles of the Taj Mahal,” he added.

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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