'Mud-pack treatment not harmful for Taj Mahal'

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New Delhi, Nov 27: The government today denied that the experiment of applying mud-pack for cleaning of marble surface of the Taj Mahal had proved counter-productive without any significant results. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni said the mud-pack treatment for cleaning of marble surface had been found useful as it was ''non-abrasive, non-corrosive and quite effective to achieve the complete removal of adherent accretionary deposits.'' Ms Soni also asserted that the walls of the Taj Mahal had not been harmed by use of such a treatment.

The minister refuted reports that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had been ignoring its own conservation manual of 1923 prepared by Sir John Marshall in conserving monuments, particularly the Taj Mahal.

''However, new developments in technology are incorporated for better care of monuments as admissible under the standard guidelines and international charters for conservation of monuments.

Replying to another query, she said the government has established a National Culture Fund (NCF) by which national and international corporate houses can contribute for various cultural activities, including conservation and restoration of monuments and heritage sites.

Separate Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) are entered into with the donors of NCF projects and they are associated in restoration or conservation activities through their representation on Project Implementation Committees (PICs).

Donors can also choose the executing agency with the approval of the PIC.

Ms Soni said Aga Khan Trust, SAIL, Apeejay Surendra Park Hotels Ltd, Indian Pil Foundation, the Tata Group and Pune Municipal Corporation are among the bodies and agencies which have undertaken conservation works.


UNI

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