After a global expert said that museums in India are vulnerable and exposed to fire-related incidents, yet another shocking development has come to light regarding the crown jewel of India, the Taj Mahal at Agra. According to a report, 90 of the 140 CCTV cameras installed at the monument’s periphery and gates have been non-operational since June 2018. This means that 65 percent of security cameras at India’s most renowned structure have been out of order for the past six months, posing a major security risk.
The cameras were installed at vantage points in 2016 by the Uttar Pradesh Rajkiya Nirman Nigam to ensure the safety of the UNESCO world heritage monument. Officials said that an amount of Rs 1.89 crore was earmarked by the UP Rajkiya Nigam for the maintenance of the 140 cameras for three years. However, the same is yet to be approved by the UP Tourism Department.
In fact, ground reports reveal that six additional X-ray machines which were sanctioned by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in January 2017 for scanning baggage at the monument are yet to be installed. Officials with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) deployed at the Taj Mahal said that the delay is due to ‘technical reasons’, adding that Rs 1.6 crore were sanctioned for the machines in 2016.
Circle Officer (Taj Security) Mohsin Khan said that a complaint regarding the faulty cameras has been registered with district authorities who are yet to resolve the issue. The Agra Divisional Commissioner had recently made an announcement asking the Agra Development Authority (ADA) to charge toll tax for Taj Mahal visitors. This tax will pay for the maintenance of the 140 CCTV cameras, he had claimed.