India's top court yesterday demanded a detailed plan for the future of the Taj Mahal, warning the state government's "ad hoc" approach jeopardised the centuries-old monument to love.
Smog has been slowly yellowing the Taj's brilliant marble and conservationists have long fought to close polluting industries near the 17th-century icon.
But years of interventions -- including using mudpacks to draw the stain from the stone -- have failed to arrest the slow decay of India's biggest attraction.
The Supreme Court has ordered the state government of Uttar Pradesh to produce a "vision document" outlining its plan for protecting the wonder of the world within a month, the Press Trust of India reported.
In particular the court expressed concern about a "sudden flurry of activities" in the Taj Trapezium Zone -- a buffer around the monument to protect it from pollution.
"Leather industries and hotels are coming up there. Why?" the court asked, describing the government conservation plan for the Taj as ad hoc and inadequate.
The state government was also directed to notify the court of how many trees had been planted in the buffer zone before any further greenery was felled for construction works, PTI reported.
The Taj faces numerous threats, from air pollution to insects that leave green stains on the rear wall facing the heavily polluted Yamuna River.