Taj Mahal, Agra Fort served property and water tax notices
ASI officials, however, claim that it is a mistake that will soon be rectified
The Archelogical Survey of India has been issued notices by the UP government to pay property tax and water tax for the Taj Mahal for the first time in 370 years. ASI officials, however, claim that it is a mistake that will soon be rectified.
The Taj Mahal was billed for the amount of Rs. 1 crore in due taxes. An outstanding bills notice has also been sent to the Agra fort for the amount of Rs 5 crore, according to superintending archaeologist Raj Kumar Patel.
"Three notices have been received so far, two for the Taj Mahal and one for the Agra Fort," Patel confirmed to NDTV.
"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," he added.
He also said that it had to be an error as such taxes don't apply for monuments.
“Uttar Pradesh laws have this provision too and so do other states,” he added. “As for the water notice, in the past, no such demand has been made and we do not have any water connection that we use for any commercial purposes. The lawns that we maintain inside the Taj complex are for public service and there is no question of dues.”
Patel clarified in his statement that the Cantonment Board that had issued notice to the Agra Fort has been told that the Cantonment Board Act exempts monuments.
Agra Municipal Commissioner Nikhil T Funde has responded to the event saying, "A tax notice has been issued to all government and religious sites about the state-wide geographic information system (GIS) survey. I, too, am unaware of the tax notices sent to the Taj Mahal."
“In the case of notices issued to ASI, required action will be taken on the basis of response received from them,” Funde added.
Meanwhile, Hindustan Times reported a civic body official said that the notice was served for property and water tax not on the monument itself but the ticket window and residential wing at the eastern gate of Taj Mahal.
The officials said that the demand was first raised in 2017 and it is only now that a letter was served to the ASI.
Sitting on the bank of river Yamuna, the Taj Mahal, commissioned by Emperor Shah Jahan, is one of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Sites. The Taj Mahal is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653.
The Agra Fort is also a Unesco World Heritage Site built by Emperor Akbar. It is also known as the "Red Fort", “Lal-Qila”, “Fort Rouge” or “Qila-i-Akbari."