The adoption of the iconic Red Fort by the private company Dalmia Bharat under central government’s ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project has sparked controversy and the Narendra Modi government has been criticized for allegedly selling the heritage sites. In reality, the whole perspective is completely different what some people and specific media houses are calling BJP to be the culprit behind the sequence of events. It isn’t a fact that the NDA government arbitrarily chose the Dalmia rather it was a three tier competition between the GMR group, the InterGlobe Foundation and the Dalmia Group. The Dalmia Group clarified that they had signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to upkeep Lal Quila, committing Rs 25 crore over a five year period. No doubt, this automatically makes it clear that the Red Fort isn’t sold rather the government is exploring way outs to take care of the heritage site in PPP model.
Incidentally, ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project, a brainchild of Ministry of Tourism along with Ministry of Culture and Archeological Survey of India, was launched by the present President Ram Nath Kovind on World Tourism Day last year. The opposition parties are categorically confusing the common people by diluting the term adoption and emphasizing on ‘selling’ the Red Fort. According to the project, Private companies who will agree to adopt heritage monuments for a certain time period of time, will be termed as Monument Mitra. Let’s not misunderstand with the fact that Red Fort isn’t the first heritage site or Monument to be adopted. As of now, letters of intent have been handed over to 33 agencies for 98 monuments. The monuments have been categorized into Green, Blue and Orange. The most interesting aspect is, the list of companies include companies from the hospitality industry, travel industry, banking industry and even an International School.
No doubt, the whole idea of adopting a Monument is indeed a welcome step and it will indirectly facilitate proper monitoring and maintenance. Side by side, it can be said that bringing such an aspect within the fold of private companies is indeed a noble idea.