For the first time in its 370-year history, the Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, was served with notices for property tax and water bills on Tuesday, 20 December.
Officials of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) have called the move a mistake and are hoping that it would be remedied soon.
For the iconic marble mausoleum, the ASI was issued a notice to pay, in “dues,” property tax worth Rs 1.47 lakh and a water bill to the tune of Rs 1.94 crore.
"For the Taj Mahal, we have got two notices, one for property tax and the other from the water supply department that has 12 points. A total of 1 crore plus rupees has been demanded from the ASI," ASI superintending archaeologist in Agra Raj Kumar Patel said in a statement accessed by The Quint.
He said that the notice had to be an error as such taxes do not apply to monuments.
“Property tax or house tax is not applicable to the monument premises. Uttar Pradesh laws have this provision too, as do other states. For the water notice, in the past no demand has been made and we do not have any water connection that we use for commercial purposes. The lawns that we maintain inside the Taj complex are for public service and there is no question of dues."ASI superintending archaeologist in Agra Raj Kumar Patel
The Taj Mahal, located on the south bank of the Yamuna river in Agra, is one of the best examples of Mughal architecture in India. Built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz, it is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in India and was one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
A notice for close to Rs 5 crore has also been received for the Agra Fort, Raj Kumar Patel added in a statement accessed by The Quint.
“A few days ago the cantonment board served us notice for the Agra fort, a world heritage monument, of almost Rs 5 crore. We replied to them that the the concerned government act exempts monuments,” the ASI officials said.
The Agra fort was built by Mughal emperor Akbar and was the main residence of emperors of the Mughal Dynasty' until 1838, after which the capital was moved from Agra to Delhi.
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