New Delhi, May 4 : The Centre has decided not to consider any new proposal of the Uttar Pradesh government for financial assistance to projects relating to protection and conservation of the Taj Mahal unless a post-evaluation study is carried out.
The study will be carried out by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur.
The Ministry of Forest and Environment has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to provide the detailed project reports and status of implementation of the projects to the NEERI.
The Planning Commission had approved Rs 600 crore on a 50:50 sharing basis with the state government to projects for implementing schems in the Taj Trapezium Zone for protection of the 17th century monument.
In the first phase, 10 projects were approved which are -- Improvement of electric supply in and around Agra and Fatehpur Sikri, water supply in Agra, Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul Barrage, Solid Waste Management, Storm water drainage system in Agra, construction of one part of Agra bypass, widening of Agra bypass and improvement of master plan roads of Agra city.
Financial assistance for these projects will now be provided after the NEERI has submitted its report of the post-evaluation study, according to the sources in the Ministry.
As per a Supreme Court order, the protection of the Taj is a national priority, and the Centre and the state government are required to observe strict standards in the implementation all the projects related to the protection of the monument.