New Delhi, April 28:
The 77-year-old Dalmia Bharat group has adopted the Red Fort in Delhi for a period of five years, making it the first corporate house to adopt a historical monument.
The Dalmia Bharat group bagged the contract for Rs 25 crore after beating IndiGo Airlines and the GMR group.The company will now be responsible for maintaining and revamping the 17th century monument built by fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
The ‘Adopt a Heritage’ (Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan Project) scheme was launched by the President on September 17 last year, following which various companies volunteered to adopt the monument. The deal was signed with Dalmia Bharat group on April 24.
Congress protests move
The Congress on Saturday took potshots at the BJP over the move. The party posted a poll on Twitter, asking which monuments the saffron party would “lease out to a private entity” next.
After handing over the Red Fort to the Dalmia group, which is the next distinguished location that the BJP government will lease out to a private entity? #IndiaSpeaks
— Congress (@INCIndia) April 28, 2018
The move has also been questioned by author and historian William Dalrymple.
“There must be better ways of maintaining a nation’s greatest monuments than by auctioning them off to a corporate house Dalrymple tweeted his reaction to the move”
Under the contract, the Dalmia Bharat group will provide drinking water kiosks, street furniture-like benches and shop signage within six months. It will then have to put up upgrade toilets, light up the Red Fort pathways and bollards, tactile maps, restore work and landscaping, build a 1,000-square-foot visitor facility center, 3-D projection mapping of the Red Fort’s interior and exterior, battery-operated vehicles and charging stations for such vehicles and a thematic cafeteria within a year.
The group may also charge people visiting the Red Fort after getting clearances from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism. Any revenue generated through the activities planned will have to be used for the Fort’s development and maintenance.
Sundeep Kumar, Executive Director, Dalmia Bharat said in a press release, “We are grateful to the Ministry of Tourism for trusting us and giving us this opportunity. With our dedicated efforts we will endeavour to make Red Fort a world-class monument in terms of amenities and experience. Such initiatives will enhance the tourist experience, resulting in more footfall from both domestic and foreign tourists. With our efforts we will make Indian heritage sites a symbol of pride for all of us.”
Dalmia Bharat is also expected to introduce other key amenities for the visitors like App based Multi lingual Audio-Guide, Digital Interactive Kiosk, Digital (LED) screening, free Wi-Fi and cafeteria along with souvenir shop which will help in promoting local art and craftsmanship. Keeping in mind easy accessibility to the differently-abled visitors, there will be construction of ramps & differently-abled friendly toilets.
The heritage monuments taken up for ‘adoption’ by private groups include Delhi’s Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, Purana Qila, Safdarjung’s Tomb and Agrasen ki Baoli, Odisha’s Sun Temple, Ratnagiri monuments and the Rajarani temple, the ruins of Hampi in Karnataka, the Leh Palace and Stok Kangri in Jammu & Kashmir, Anjanta and Ellora caves in Maharashtra, Mattancherry Place in Kochi, Gangotri Temple and the Gomukh trail in Uttarakhand. The government had last year given letter of intent to seven private companies to adopt the sites.