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Published On: Sun, Apr 29th, 2018

Dalmia adopts Red Fort, The Nation’s greatest monuments

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new-delhi-private-half-day-city-tour NEW DELHI : A government plan to involve private companies to maintain India’s best-known monuments has landed the centre at the centre of a huge controversy over news that Dalmia Bharat Group had “adopted” the iconic Red Fort.

The Congress on Saturday took potshots at the BJP for the move. The party ran a poll on Twitter, asking which monuments the saffron party would “lease out to a private entity” next.

The Red Fort was built in the 17th century by the fifth Mughal ruler Shah Jahan as he moved his administrative capital from Agra to the present-day Delhi.The opposition accused the government of trying to commercialise everything, wondered why the government could not spare Rs. 5 crore every year on the monument that the company had agreed to spend over the next five years. Some historians also joined in.
Under the ‘Adopt A Heritage’ scheme launched by the Indian government in September 2017, almost 100 monuments and heritage sites across India have been put up for adoption.

These include the Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, Kangra Fort in Himachal Pradesh, Buddhist Kaneri caves in Mumbai. Sites not maintained by the ASI, such as Chitkool village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, Thembang in Arunachal Pradesh and the Sati Ghat at Haridwar, Uttarakhand have also been put up for adoption.

Not just the Congress party, several other prominent personalities across India, as well as Twitterati in general, reacted to this, and in most cases, the reaction was not very positive.
Scottish historian, writer and a known expert on India’s history, William Dalrymple, said: “There must be better ways of maintaining a nation’s greatest monuments than by auctioning them off to a corporate house.”lrfan Habib, an Indian historian, welcomed the move but also warned ASI to keep a close watch on the development.
In a tweet West Bengal CM MAmta Banerjee  “Why can’t the Government even take care of our historic Lal Qila? Red Fort is a symbol of our nation. It is where India’s flag is hoisted on Independence Day. Why should it be leased out? Sad and dark day in our history”.
The Congress, which led the offensive against the government, said “BJP and PM Modi should be ashamed that they don’t have 5 crores for the maintenance and supervision of Red Fort, I wonder how they will run this nation,” said Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress spokesperson.
Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma tried to clear the air, surprised that a political row had broken out over a scheme that had been announced last year.”We are proud of our monuments and we are proud of our rich heritage and culture,” Mr Sharma said.(With Agency Inputs ).

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