TAJ VISION DOCUMENT: Paid 80 per cent amount to School of Planning and Architecture, UP tells SC

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NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court Wednesday they have paid 80 per cent money, Rs 51.
89 lakh, to Delhi-based School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) which is entrusted with the task of preparing a vision document for protection of Taj Mahal.
The state government told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta that the balance amount as per the terms of reference would be released shortly to SPA which would soon come out with the document.
Advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for Uttar Pradesh, said that besides this, remuneration of about Rs 6 lakh for three experts who have worked with SPA in the exercise, has also been sanctioned.
On November 29, the apex court had told the Uttar Pradesh government that the vision document should be made public once it is finalised as there is “nothing secret” about it.
The SPA had told the court that process of preparing the document would be completed within a “few days” and as per terms of reference, they would submit it to the state government.
The Centre had also informed the court that first draft of heritage plan for Taj Mahal, which is to be submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), was ready and it would be finalised within eight weeks.
The top court had earlier asked the authorities to take a larger perspective on issues of pollution and green cover while preparing a vision document, saying there would not get a “second chance” to preserve the Taj Mahal.
The top court, which has been monitoring development in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) to protect the Taj, had earlier slammed the Centre, Uttar Pradesh government and TTZ authority for their failure to restore the pristine glory of Taj Mahal.
The TTZ is an area of about 10,400 sq km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.