Pollutants from various sources have been superficially depositing on the marble surface of Taj Mahal as particulate matters and due to scattering of light by these particles, the marble surface of Taj Mahal appears to have changed in colour.
This was stated by the government, quoting the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), in response to questions in the Lok Sabha as to whether the marble of world famous Taj Mahal is getting discoloured due to air pollution.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Environment Mahesh Sharma, while replying to questions on Friday, said the ASI has formulated scientific cleaning and conservation plan to protect the surface of Taj Mahal from deposited pollutants.
"Accordingly, all four minarets, eight facades, four pedestal marble walls, the interior portion of periphery up to human height and four chhatris at the rooftop of the main mausoleum, have already been cleaned and treated. However, the cleaning of the main dome requires some technical studies," he added.
Asked whether the foundation of Taj Mahal was becoming weak due to polluted water of Yamuna, Sharma, citing the ASI, said the water level of the river was away from the northern wall of the monument.
"Therefore, specific study on the link between Yamuna water and strength of the foundation of Taj Mahal has not been conducted," the minister added.
The Supreme Court had in May expressed concern over the change of colour of the Mughal-era world famous monument and asked the government what it was doing about it. The apex court suggested that the Centre take the assistance of experts from India and abroad to first assess the damage and then take steps to restore the historic monument.
“We don’t know whether you have or perhaps don’t have the expertise. Even if you have the expertise, you are not utilising it. Or perhaps you don’t care,” a bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said. “Perhaps we need some expert organisation from outside India unless there is a decision that the Taj has to go,” the bench said sarcastically, adding, “you can get experts from India as well as from outside.”
(With inputs from agencies)