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Taj Mahal conservation could be handed over to the Aga Khan Foundation 2015-06-09

Tuesday, 2015, June 9

taj mahal

india today
Siraj Qureshi

If the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) doesn't improve the quality of conservation of Taj Mahal, the monument's maintenance could be handed over to the Aga Khan Foundation.

Talking to India Today, a senior ASI official said that the Ministry of Culture is planning to portion out the monument, giving the maintenance of its various areas to different organizations on the grounds of a Corporate Social Responsibility campaign that began in 2013 with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation signing up for the maintenance of the monument.

However, the biggest name thrown into the bucket recently is that of the Aga Khan Foundation, which is reportedly interested in the maintenance of this monument which is deteriorating because of vehicular pollution.

The Aga Khan Foundation already handles the conservation of Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Tomb of
Quli Qutub Shah in Hyderabad. Taj Mahal could now become the third monument to be handed over to the Foundation, if the reports are correct.

A US University's study report had already termed the ASI's conservation techniques as outdated and insufficient for the protection of the monument. If Taj Mahal gets handed over to the Foundation, it will serve as the ministry's stamp of approval on the ASI's reported failure.

Aga Khan has already visited the Taj Mahal a couple of months back, when he was in India to receive the Padma Bhushan award and it is being indicated that the initial dialogue regarding the monument's takeover has been completed.

Talking to India Today, Agra Tourist Welfare Chamber Secretary Vishal Sharma said that it would not be a surprise if the Taj Mahal's conservation is handed over to the Aga Khan Foundation as already there have been several corporate giants working on the monument in one capacity or the other, including the Tata Group of Companies which took over the monument's conservation in 2001. However, while the Tata Group failed to deliver on their promise, the Aga Khan Foundation will certainly deliver since the Foundation has a worldwide experience in the conservation of historic monuments.

He said that the Tata Group barely managed to finish three out of the ten conservation and beautification tasks allotted to it at the Taj Mahal and the rest was completed by the ASI. He added, "Ministry of Culture and the ASI should jointly ensure that the conservation gets completed on schedule and with the prescribed quality."

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