See More on Facebook

News

India’s grand ‘adopt-a-heritage’ scheme draws flak

Top corporate bags multimillion contract to ‘adopt’ historic Red Fort; India’s iconic Taj Mahal up for ‘adoption’ next.


Written by

Updated: May 3, 2018

India is allowing top business houses to adopt its heritage sites much to the chagrin of heritage activists.

The Dalmia Bharat group has won a bid to adopt the historic Red Fort, a 17th century Mughal monument in Delhi and the site where India’s prime minister addresses the nation on its Independence Day every year.

The 77-year-old corporate group beat IndiGo Airlines and GMR group to bag the contract worth Rs 250 million under the “Adopt a Heritage” scheme which was launched last September.

Almost 100 other monuments and heritage sites have been put up for adoption – including the iconic Taj Mahal at Agra in the country’s north. Considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj

Mahal was knocked off the tourist list of Uttar Pradesh last year, shocking heritage activists.

Reports say there are two corporate houses – GMR and tobacco company ITC Ltd – bidding for this premium contract.

The white marble mausoleum was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in the 17th century. It draws seven to eight million visitors a year and was listed as a Unesco World Heritage site in 1983.

India’s main Opposion Congress and several political leaders have criticised the government’s move to lease out monuments to private entities for upkeep. “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” tweeted the Congress party.

Sitaram Yechury, a top leader of a Left party, asked the government to reverse its decision. “Stop Privatising India’s Heritage: The Parliamentary Committee that went into the issue of handing over

heritage sites to private corporate had decided against this unanimously. Govt should reverse its decision of privatising the Red Fort,” Yechury posted on Twitter.

Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma defended the government’s move, saying that the Red Fort was not “auctioned off” but “adopted” for better preservation.

Audrey Truschke, an authority on Indian Mughal history, tweeted her surprise and shock: “Shah Jahan’s iconic Red Fort in Delhi is now Dalmia Bharat group’s Red Fort”.

Legendary historian-writer William Dalrymple said “there must be better ways of maintaining a nation’s greatest monuments than by auctioning them off to a corporate house”.

Apart from the upkeep, the corporates will also produce brochures about the monument’s history – which is a source of concern for many. Hindu nationalists have been accused of distorting history – one

example being a claim that the Taj Mahal was built on a Hindu temple.

Meanwhile, India’s Supreme Court has ticked off the government for not doing enough to preserve the Taj Mahal. The regal white marbled monument has stained due to pollution and other reasons and last month a storm ravaged two of its minarets.

“Even if you have the expertise, you are not utilising it. Or perhaps you don’t care,” the court’s justices noted, ordering the government to consult experts in India and abroad to address the issue.

India has nearly 3,700 historic monuments, including 31 Unesco World Heritage sites.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Lamat R Hasan
About the Author: Lamat is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

News

Moon, Trump discuss ‘corresponding measures’ for NK denucelarization

South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in New York on Sunday for a bilateral summit with US President Donald Trump that is partly aimed at brokering a second US-North Korea summit. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump on Monday discussed possible ways to reward North Korea for its denuclearization measures that will apparently include a second US-North Korea summit. “The leaders agreed to continue communicating closely about corresponding measures,” said Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for South Korea’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. In their bilateral summit held in New York, the leaders of South K


By The Korea Herald
September 25, 2018

News

India launches world’s biggest healthcare programme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India’s ambitious healthcare program on Sunday. Deemed the “world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme”, the scheme will cover half a billion people through its network of hospitals and support services. Speaking at the event, the PM said that the number of beneficiaries is equivalent to the total population of the United States, Canada and Mexico or the entire European Union. “This is a major step taken to fulfil the vision of providing better healthcare facilities to the poorest of the poor and to those standing last in the queue,” the PM said. Following the launch, the PM informed the gathering that the scheme covers diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, kidney and liver problems, diabetes and over 1300 various ailments. “The treatment of the diseases can not only be done in government hospitals but also private hospitals,” said


By Cod Satrusayang
September 24, 2018

News

A land with no smiles

The Thai middle class’ Faustian bargain with the military is hampering true democracy in the country. Almost ten years ago, I met a protester on the streets of Bangkok. It was a time of protest and political instability with the drama between the government and protesters spilling out onto the streets. To protect his identity against possible military reprisal, let us call him Nadech. Nadech will unlikely be recorded in history books, he was not a political leader, nor a despotic general or any other archetype of Thai history. He was a simple junk-store hawker, an occupation that involves going from house to house and sorting garbage to sell. His family had done well enough through grit and hard work to open a small convenience store in his home province. Nadech had taken to the streets in 2010 because he had believed the promises that exiled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had made and had seen, fi


By Cod Satrusayang
September 21, 2018

News

Former Malaysian Prime Minister arrested, to be charged

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been arrested in connection with the deposit of RM2.6bil of 1MDB funds into his personal account. In a statement, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) said the arrest was made at 4.13pm at its headquarters in Putrajaya on Wednesday (Sept 19). The MACC said that the former prime minister will be detained overnight and brought to court to face several charges under Section 23 (1) of the MACC Act at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court at 3pm on Thursday (Sept 20). The MACC will also cooperate with the police to record Najib’s statement before he is taken to court tomorrow. ” This is to help their investigations under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001,” it said. Meanwhile, Malaysiakini reports that Najib’ daughter, Nooryana Najwa, is worried t


By The Star
September 20, 2018

News

-UPDATE- Kim meets Moon in Pyongyang

The North Korean leader says he expects progress at next summit with Trump and agrees to denuclearisation of Korean peninsula. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday pledged to visit Seoul and reaffirmed


By The Korea Herald
September 19, 2018

News

Live coverage of Korea Summit

Stakes are high at the second Kim-Moon summit in Pyongyang begins, Korea Herald has live coverage. For live updates click here.  Presi


By The Korea Herald
September 18, 2018