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Tatas sign MoU to preserve Taj Mahal

Our Bureau

NEW DELHI, June 21

THE National Culture Fund (NCF), the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Indian Hotel Company (the Taj group of hotels -- a Tata enterprise) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the preservation, restoration and conservation of th e Taj Mahal and its environs.

The work, which is to be undertaken in two phases, is to see the Tatas pump in around Rs 1.8 crore for the work being undertaken in the first phase. The offer of the Taj group of hotels is to take up specific projects for preservations, conservation and provision of better facilities at the Taj Mahal.

The Group has already been internationally acknowledged for restoring, conservation and managing heritage properties like the Rambagh Palace in Udaipur, the Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad and the Sawai Madhopur Lodge in Madhopur.

Besides, it will also be responsible for commissioning a professional agency to prepare a feasibility report on the conservation, beautification, restoration and upgradation of the monument and the surrounding areas.

Addressing the media after the signing ceremony, the Union Minister for Culture and Tourism, Mr Ananth Kumar, said that better signages, landscaping and building public utilities of international standards would be taken up.

During the second phase, an international panel of experts would also be on hand to advice on the model which should be adopted to restore the Taj Mahal to its old glory.

The terms of the MoU state that among the work which will be undertaken by the hotel Group include river water treatment, development of garden and ambience, development of Mughal gardens, restoration of missing inlay pieces in the Taj Mahal and the main entrance of the monument, provision of pre-recorded tour programme with headsets in different languages for the international traveller, besides setting up state of the art communication facilities in the vicinity of the Taj.

Later answering questions, Mr Ananth Kumar said that the NCF had in the last one year alone contributed more than Rs 30 crore towards the preservation of various monuments in different parts of the country.

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