Union minister of state for tourism (independent charge) K Chiranjeevi kicked off the long awaited ONGC-sponsored 'Clean India Campaign' from Taj Mahal on Wednesday with the objective of providing hygienic environment in and around monuments and tourist sites to attract more visitors.
"We have formed an action plan to cover at least 36 monuments and tourism sites where the Clean India campaign will be undertaken. Steps will be taken to enhance beauty, landscaping, and making hygienic friendly atmosphere in and around the sites," said Chiranjeevi.
The ONGC has adopted six monuments, including the 17th century Monument of Love, the Taj Mahal. The other monuments the ONGC has adopted are Ellora and Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, Red Fort in Delhi, Golkonda Fort near Hyderabad, and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu.
The commission will take up cleaning of the Taj Mahal and areas around the monument, said district officials. Chiranjeevi reached Agra by bus around 1pm and was accorded a grand welcome at Shilpgram.
S Vasudev, ONGC CMD, Pravin Srivastava, director-general of the ASI, Sanjiv Saran, secretary for UP tourism, Parvez Diwan, secretary for tourism (GOI) accompanied the minister who was welcomed by Pradeep Bhatnagar, commissioner of Agra, and NK Pathak, superintending archaeologist.
The minister took stock of the cleanliness, water in the fountains and the main mausoleum of the Taj Mahal during his hour-long stay here despite the hot and humid weather.
He appealed to the citizens of Agra to cooperate in keeping clean the city of the Taj, which receives a large number of foreign and domestic tourists.