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SC asks UP govt to encourage electric cremation at the burning ground near Taj Mahal

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to encourage the people to opt for electric cremation instead of going for the traditional method to cremate their dead ones at a cremation ground in the vicinity of the Taj Mahal.

Asking the Uttar Pradesh government to make electric cremation free from January 1, a bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice C. Nagappan said that people should be made aware of the importance of opting for the electric crematorium in order to save the Taj Mahal from the smoke emitting from the traditional method of cremation.

Its suggestion came as the state government expressed its difficulty in stopping the traditional method of cremation at the cremation ground near Taj Mahal as it involved the beliefs and sentiments of the people.

The court said that the Central Pollution Control Board would suggest the methods that could be adopted so that the emission of smoke from burning pyres could be minimized.

Asking the Uttar Pradesh government to make a comprehensive plan for the development and beautification of the entire area, including the cremation ground, the court said that people needed to be made aware of the hazards that smokes from traditional methods of cremation is causing to historic monuments.

The court order came in the course of the hearing in the wake of a letter from Justice Kurian Joseph – a sitting judge of the apex court – pointing out the danger to the Taj Mahal from the smoke and ash flying from the cremation ground located about 500 meters from the historic monument.

Justice Joseph noticed this during his recent visit to Taj Mahal. (IANS)

(Picture Courtesy:www.news18.com)

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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)