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Firozabad Glass Industry is Declining: Is Taj Mahal to be Blamed?

The age old industry which used to provide employment to many Indian artisans was forced to have a major shift when the artisans were banned from burning coal and forced to use costly natural gas to fuel their furnaces

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Glass Industry
Glass industry in Firozabad is declining. Wikimedia
  • Firozabad Glass Industry, an ancient industry and an integral part of Indian culture is facing a danger of closure
  • The decline has rendered many artisans unemployed

Agra, June 27, 2017– The glass industry in the city has received a huge blow and the workers are not blaming GST or rocketing fuel prices but the symbol of love and beauty, Taj Mahal.

The age old industry which used to provide employment to many Indian artisans was forced to have a major shift when the artisans were banned from burning coal and forced to use costly natural gas to fuel their furnaces.

The decision was taken by the authorities in order to preserve World Heritage Site Taj Mahal’s white marble which was yellowing from the smoke coming from the furnaces from the industry. The Firozabad glass industry is roughly 35 Km. away from the monument.

According to the reports by to Phys.org, Hanuman Prasad Garg, the President of glass industry association in Firozpur says, “because of the Taj Mahal, the entire industry is suffering.” Despite the efforts made, the Taj is still losing its lustre.

Many of us adore the beauty of the Taj but the same has become a curse for a huge no. of craftsmen who toil over furnaces to make colorful glistening bangles, an important part of Indian culture.

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The industry is believed to be as old as the Taj itself and dates back to Mughal-era.
As a result of the new regulations, many factories have closed or downsized considerably due to failure in coping up with the rising prices of natural gas, rendering the glass artisans unemployed.

“I have been making glass items since I was 10 years old. This is the only thing I know. My entire household is involved in this work.” Said Zafar Ahmad (an artisan) to AFP. He added, “But still it is so difficult to survive. I can’t even afford sending my four children to decent schools. I can’t imagine what will happen to them if God forbid I am out of work.”

Despite working in harsh conditions ( working in almost darkness in little flame has rendered many artisans blind and the smoke from furnaces has led to fatal respiratory diseases), the artisans earn a mere Rs.300 a day.

Authorities are now considering to close the district for good and the artisans are feeling that their days in the industry are numbered. The National Green Tribunal has taken samples from the furnaces for a test of pollutants. It is considering shifting the entire industry elsewhere.

Shahbaz Ali, chairman of the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation told Hindustan Times, “No one can take away their talent. They have a rich traditional knowledge, we are just polishing it.”

– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram. Twitter: @NikitaTayal6 

Next Story

Catapults To Protect Tourists At The Taj From Simian Attacks

The biggest threat to the security of tourists comes from monkeys and there are hundreds of them waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting visitors.

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The Taj Mahal attracts not only foreign, but domestic tourists too; Source: Pixabay

Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal will now be under safety cover of catapults to scare rampaging monkeys who have been injuring visitors at an alarming frequency.

A group of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) troopers are now seen with catapults and not licensed arms for use against terrorists and anti-social elements.

The biggest threat to the security of tourists comes from monkeys and there are hundreds of them waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting visitors, tourist guide Ved Gautam told IANS.

Almost daily a monkey bite case is being reported. Last month, the number of victims was 16. The Archaeological Society of India (ASI) has put up notice boards at several places warning tourists of monkeys.

taj mahal
Tourists visiting the Taj Mahal will now be under safety cover of catapults to scare rampaging monkeys who have been injuring visitors at an alarming frequency.

At 15 points, CISF personnel armed with catapults are ready to take slingshots at the simians who have turned ferocious.

“When they see a catapult aimed against them, the monkeys flee full speed for safety,” a trooper said.

CISF Commandant Braj Bhushan Singh said his men had been given catapults to scare away the monkeys and make tourists feel safe inside the Taj Mahal premises.

A number of plans have been drawn up by various government agencies including the Agra Municipal Corporation after a monkey snatched a baby from a mother’s lap and killed it some two months ago.

Catapults made of plastic and rubber were selling Rs 10 a piece but are now the price has gone up to Rs 20 due to increasing demand all over the city.

Vegetable vendors, temple security staff, shopkeepers and domestic servants are buying catapults.

TAJ MAHAL
Catapults to save tourists at the Taj from simian attacks

According to a rough estimate, the number of monkeys in the Agra city area is around 50,000.

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“Such a big population of simians can neither be provided for nor shifted as there are no forests left. Usually they return to urban areas even if they are transported to remote areas,” said an animal husbandry expert.

“The problem was earlier confined to Mathura and Vrindavan, but now they are all over the Agra city,” said Shravan Kumar Singh, a green activist.

Meanwhile, Naresh Kadyan, Chairman of the National Animal Welfare Party, has protested against the arming of CISF personnel with catapults. He has lodged a complaint with the union Environment and Forest Ministry citing provisions of the Wildlife Act. (IANS)