SUBJECT : UP tourism proposes suspension bridge to link Mehtab Bagh, Taj

Agra, March 18th: What is a grand plan for one government body might be an epic disaster from the eyes of another. UP tourism headquarters has asked its regional officer to conduct a feasibility study to build a suspension bridge over the Yamuna to connect Mehtab Bagh with Taj Mahal.

However, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials said there was no question of giving permission for building any such structure which could be "an eyesore" or hinder with the aesthetics of the historical building. They added that they don't have much information about the project so far.

In a letter last month, UP tourism deputy director Anup Srivastav apprised regional officer Dinesh Kumar that a plan to build a four-lane road on government land along Yamuna from Itimad-ud-daula to Mehtab Bagh via Egyarah Seedhi as well as a suspension bridge to connect the Mughal Garden with the Taj Mahal is under consideration.

The official added that those tourists who reach the city through Yamuna Expressway and national highway and take Itimad-ud-daula road would benefit from this project. The

matter has already been discussed between UP tourism principal secretary and Agra district magistrate.

Kumar was asked to discuss the matter with the divisional commissioner, district magistrate and ASI and file a detailed report with immediate effect.

When contacted, Kumar said, "The meeting is most likely to take place in the last week of March. There are many aspects of the project which will need clarifications, as several restrictions around the monuments are already in place."

An ASI official who did not wish to be named said no new construction could be allowed within 500-meter radius of the Taj and 300-meter radius of Mehtab Bagh. Moreover, any such project which can hinder with the view of the monument cannot be allowed. One such example is of Taj heritage corridor where tourist's facilities were to be built but later stopped by the Supreme Court.

Source: Times of India