First in 45 years: Rising Yamuna waters reach Taj Mahal walls
The Yamuna River, which has been flowing above the danger mark in Delhi, crossed the 'low-level flood' of 495 feet in Agra, reaching the walls of Taj Mahal. This has happened for the first time in nearly 45 years that the river has reached this level. It has also submerged a garden behind the 17th century monument. As per local authorities, Yamuna reached the mark of 497.99 feet. However, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said that there is no threat to the UNESCO World Heritage site. The water has entered the outer parts of Itimad-ud-Daula's tomb and the Dussehra Ghat near Taj Mahal.
According to local authorities, the Yamuna water is at 499.1 feet and is expected to rise further. The low flood level is 495 feet.
The rising level of the river is also threatening other monuments such as Rambagh, Mehtab Bagh, Zohra Bagh and Kala Gumbad but they are not at risk, as per ASI.
The officials also said that the water has not entered the basement of the Taj Mahal.
Meanwhile, officials in Agra stepped up relief preparedness as the water level in Yamuna rose to 495.8 feet on Sunday.
They also said that the road leading to the Taj Mahal got waterlogged due to backflow from drains falling into the flooded river.
District Magistrate Navneet Chahal inspected the low-lying areas in Agra city on Sunday and directed the officials concerned to make proper arrangements in case a flood-like situation arises.
"We are prepared to tackle a flood-like situation if it arises. Posts have been created and boatmen and divers are on alert. Locals in low-lying areas have been advised to remain alert," Yashvardhan Srivastav, ADM (Finance and Revenue), told news agency PTI.
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Arrangements have also been stepped up near the villages in the Agra district bordering the Chambal River, an official said.
According to the official, the rise in the Yamuna level here was caused by the release of water from two barrages in the last 24 hours - 1,06,473 cusec water from the Okhla Barrage and 1,24,302 cusec water from the Gokul Barrage in Mathura, where all seven gates have been opened.