Taj in fetters: No early hope of reopening

Though the Union Tourism and Culture Ministry has green-signalled opening of 820 ASI protected monuments in the country, including 34 in Agra, the district administration has denied permission, as the city is still in the Covid-19 red zone.

The cynosure of the city, the Taj Mahal has slso been in that list for the last 80 days since the 17th century monument of love was closed on March 17.

Tourism industry captains in Agra said since international flights remain suspended and inter- state mobility restricted, hotels in the city would gain little from opening of the monuments in the city.

Agra Hotels and Restaurants Association president Rakesh Chauhan said, since there are no tourists, the hotel industry would not benefit from the permission to open properties, following a set of strict conditions.

Senior industry leader Rajiv Tiwari said it could take more than a year to normalise. “It’s a long and hard journey.”

However, there was some cheer for the city’s Petha industry. Shopkeepers of Noori Darwaza, the hub of Petha industry, were happy, and hoped the three-month loss due to closure could be partly offset, as visitors’ mobility through the city increased by trains and buses.

In Mathura, the Sri Krishna Janam Bhoomi management has decided to open its gates for the pilgrims, taking necessary precautions. However, the famous Sri Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan will not open till June 30, as also religious shrines in Goverdhan, Barsana, Gokul, and Nandgaon.

Meanwhile, the death toll due to Covid-19, went up to 50 here, and with 10 new cases the number of patients on Monday was 967.

District Magistrate PN Singh said 818 had recovered and discharged, while 99 were under treatment. So far 1,500 inmates in the central jail have been screened. Health Department teams were monitoring health status of the people in the hotspots and densely populated pockets.

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