Will the Taj Turn Blue Tonight?

Agra, Nov 13 (IANS): While many historical buildings across India will sport a blue look to support a campaign for creating awareness about diabetes Sunday evening, uncertainty about permission to turn the lights on at the Taj Mahal continues.

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) officials here appear hesitant to allow permission to NGO HEAL Foundation to use artificial lights to give a blue look to the 17th century Mughal wonder.

"Today it is one NGO, tomorrow there may be many others. It will set a wrong precedent and we cannot take a risk in the matter," said an ASI official who did not want to be named.

The caretaker at the Taj Mahal, Munnazzar Ali, told IANS: "All factors will be taken into account and we will be very cautious."

ASI chief in Agra, Indu Dhar Dwivedi, had Saturday said the permission had been given to the NGO to light up the Taj Mahal, but Sunday morning he was not available for confirmation in the wake of the opposition.

Conservationists have also objected to the use of artificial lights on the monument.

Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society president Surendra Sharma said the Supreme Court guidelines on the use of artificial lights on the Taj Mahal should be adhered to.

"They had earlier installed flood lights, which were later removed. After the Yanni show, there were studies and reports submitted by experts suggesting restrictions on the use of artificial lights on the fragile marble surface."

The Agra Fort and the Fatehpur Sikri complex, mainly red sandstone, would however be blue-lit, according to authorities, as part of a unique initiative for diabetes awareness, on the eve of World Diabetes Day, Nov 14, by HEAL Foundation and Via Media Group in association with health and family welfare ministry, the International Diabetes Federation, the ASI and the BMC.

The campaign is designed to prevent India from becoming the world's diabetes capital. The International Diabetes Foundation has reported approximately 54 million diabetic patients in India in 2010, and the number is likely to touch 70 million by 2025.

Around 50 top monuments and buildings around the country will also be swathed in blue under the 'Abbott Diabetes Blue Fortnight-2011' initiative.


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Title: Will the Taj Turn Blue Tonight?

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