New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought detailed suggestions from respective parties, petitioner MC Mehta (an environmentalist and a public interest attorney who filed a public interest litigation (PIL) before the Supreme Court in 1984), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) the Uttar Pradesh government and others involved regarding the steps which may be taken to preserve the Taj Mahal.

Supreme Court Justice Lokur said during the course of hearing that both the environment and the ecosystem were important facets of the vision document and hence it should be kept in mind before any suggestions are put forward in the preservation of Taj Mahal.

Meanwhile, conservationists have demanded a heritage city status for UP’s Agra city citing that there are three world heritage monuments such as- the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Two other monuments-  Sikandra and Itmad-ud-daula are also being considered as heritage buildings.

President of Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society, an NGO, Surendra Sharma said, “Agra deserves the heritage city tag, to protect its identity. The haphazard urban growth is a huge threat to historical monuments. Encroachment around monuments and mushroom growth of colonies should be discouraged.”

The SC is already monitoring the urban developments in the city and the working of Taj Trapezium Zone Authority after reports said there was an increase in pollution levels which could be a potential threat to the Taj Mahal.

For the unversed, the Uttar Pradesh Tourism is in favour of the heritage city status, but developers and colonisers are opposing the move as it might halt the construction activities. Agra was selected to be developed into a smart city in September 2016.