Taj Mahal is our responsibility, says Yogi Adityanath on Agra visit
Agra: In a damage-repair visit to Agra, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday uttered that Taj Mahal is a brilliant example of architecture and appealed opposition not to politicise his visit to the historic monument.
Speaking to the media persons here, he said, "When, why and how Taj Mahal was built must not be our concern. It was built by the sweat and blood of the Indian workers and the monument is brilliant example of architecture,"
He also wielded a broom to clean an area outside the Taj Mahal and then visited the imposing monument which another BJP legislator, Sangeet Som, had dubbed as a "blot" on Indian culture.
"The collective responsibility of protecting Taj lies with us. The onus of its security and preservation lies on our shoulders," he added.
Adityanath further said his government was committed to conserve the rich cultural and historical identity of Agra, and announced a special skill development programme so that youths benefit from the tourism industry.
According to him, under the Gangajal project, the flow of drains into the Yamuna river would be checked and a sewage treatment plant (STP) would be built.
Like any other tourist, but accompanied by security personnel, he walked to the main mausoleum to look at the tombs of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Jehan, in whose memory the 17th century marble monument was built.
Some tourists, including a foreigner, sought a selfie with the Chief Minister, who readily obliged.
After his arrival, Adityanath first launched a cleanliness drive on the western gate of the Taj, India's most popular tourist draw.
He was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma, Tourism Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi and cabinet Minister S.P. Singh Baghel.
In the Taj, Adityanath went to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) office and saw a slide show about the historical and cultural details of the monuments in Agra and the steps taken to conserve them.
He also went to the Yamuna side of the monument and spoke to officials about the river, its cleanliness and the proposed beautification of the area.
The Chief Minister laid the foundation stone for a World Bank-aided pro-poor tourism development project at the Taj Mahal, under which the Shah Jahan park would be rejuvenated and a walking track is to be developed between Agra Fort and Taj Mahal.
Earlier, he announced construction of a rubber check dam over the Yamuna and laid foundation stones of projects worth Rs 22 crore at Kachpura area.
When Adityanath reached the Taj in the morning, BJP activists shouted slogans hailing him and also 'Jai Shri Ram'.
His visit comes in the backdrop of statements by BJP leaders that the Taj, one of the wonders of the world, was a blot on Indian culture and history.
The statements triggered a backlash from many quarters, forcing the Bharatiya Janata Party to distance itself from the comments.