Agra: The Taj Mahal will be shut for visitors from 12 noon on February 24 (Monday) in view of US President Donald Trump’s maiden two-day visit, said the Archaeological Survey of India on Friday.
Vasant Kumar Swarnkar, Superintendent Agra Division, ASI said, “Due to security reasons, Taj Mahal will be closed for public from 12 noon on the day when US President Donald Trump visits the monument. President Trump will visit Taj Mahal on February 24.”
On Friday, Superintendent of Police (City) Botre Rohan Pramod, had said, “All the houses, shops, restaurants and hotels on the main route and near the Taj Mahal area have been identified. The verification process is about to finish. Some teams have also been put for getting the verification done.” “All this has been done so that there is no security lapse,” he had added.
The police in Agra have asked the local vendors in the city to provide their Aadhaar card as part of the verification process.
Trump arrives in India on February 24 on a maiden two-day trip that aims to repair bilateral relations hurt by a trade spat.
He plans to visit Ahmedabad and New Delhi, as well as Agra, where he will view the famed monument to love, the Taj Mahal, at sunset.
In the city, authorities are on a clean-up drive, including the polluted waters of the Yamuna river, that backs on to the monument complex.
Jal Singh Meena, an officer with the Agra Ganga Nahar, the government body that manages the canal network that feeds into the Yamuna in Agra, said on Thursday an additional 17 million litres of water are being released from three locks in the week preceding Trump’s visit on Monday- more than double the usual amount.
The extra flow had been ordered “to keep it clean and remove the foul smell,” he told Reuters.
On Thursday, workers scrubbed walls and fountains at the monument, commissioned in 1632 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his late wife Mumtaz, TV channels showed.
India’s best-known attraction, the Taj Mahal is visited by nearly seven million tourists a year, according to official data, but has been blighted by overcrowding and pollution.
Along with polluted water, authorities are battling some of the world’s filthiest air that stains the white marble of the monument, and increasingly aggressive troops of monkeys that have been known to attack visitors.
District authorities have denied local media reports they have relocated some of the more troublesome primates for the visit, and that a bridge on a proposed route taken by Trump will be unable to bear the weight of his armour-plated limousine known as “The Beast”.
Source: News 18