India's Supreme Court Wednesday ordered 80 iron foundries near the Taj Mahal to switch to environmentally-friendly fuel amid concerns that pollutants are damaging the 17th-century marble monument, a report said.
The court authorized officials in the northern town of Agra to close the foundries if they did not begin using gas-based fuel instead of coal by December 31, a Press Trust of India report said.
In 1996 the court ordered sweeping measures to reduce pollution around the Taj Mahal.
The ruling led to the closure of a gigantic national petroleum refinery and hundreds of privately-owned factories in Agra.
Vehicle traffic around the Taj Mahal is also banned under a 1994 national court order.
Local and international experts have warned that industrial emissions are affecting the white surface of the palace built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his late wife empress Mumtaz Mahal.
More than 10,000 artisans toiled for over 20 years to construct the Taj Mahal, which is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists each year -- NEW DELHI (AFP)
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