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Dubious stand of Opposition

Dubious stand of Opposition
Highlights

Dalmia Bharat Limited \'conquering\' the Red Fort has led to a political stink with the Congress questioning the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, \"What Next?\" This company has bagged the contract to maintain the heritage structure for five years and it becomes the first corporate to sign an MoU under the government\'s \"Adopt Heritage\" project. This is an attempt to increase public-private partnership i

Dalmia Bharat Limited 'conquering' the Red Fort has led to a political stink with the Congress questioning the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, "What Next?" This company has bagged the contract to maintain the heritage structure for five years and it becomes the first corporate to sign an MoU under the government's "Adopt Heritage" project. This is an attempt to increase public-private partnership in conservation and maintenance of heritage sites by the Centre.

Anyone visiting such heritage sites knows the problems that abound there. Poor maintenance and absence of amenities are the biggest headaches in such sites. The Dalmia Board has committed Rs 25 crore for the purpose of maintenance for a period of five years under the "Monument Mitra" scheme. Forts such as these have immense historical value and the Western countries show us how to maintain them. Vandalism itself is one big setback for Indian historical sites and their maintenance is woeful.

Dalmia group has pledged to adopt international standards in the upkeep of the monument. 'Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchan' is a collaborative effort among the Tourism Ministry, Culture Ministry and Archaeological Survey of India aiming to involve companies to take up responsibility for making the country's heritage and tourism more sustainable through development, operation and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities.

The project primarily focuses on providing basic amenities that include cleanliness, toilets, drinking water, ease of access for differently abled and senior citizens, standardised signage, illumination and advanced amenities such as surveillance systems, night viewing facilities, tourism facilitation centres and an enhanced tourism experience. The Opposition is questioning the government's move to allow a private entity to maintain the iconic Red Fort. Patriotism goes well with the election year.

Always. Neither the government has sold Red Fort nor mortgaged the monument. The Dalmia group will be spending for the upkeep Rs 5 crore every year from its Corporate Social Responsibility funds. What is being missed here is that this scheme is just a repackaged programme of the BJP government which initiated the same in 1996 under the then government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The National Cultural Fund was established by the Ministry of Culture in 1996 as a trust under the Charitable Endowments Act, 1890. The Congress leadership which is criticising the same, in fact, never had any problem with it till the present BJP government came to power. Several MoUs were signed under the plan when the UPA government was in power. An MoU was signed amongst the ASI, Nature Conservation Foundation and Hampi Foundation in 2008 for restoration of Krishna Temple in Hampi.

Two international funding agencies, Northern California-Based Global Heritage Fund and UNESCO's World Monument Fund joined Jindal South West Foundation to restore three temples sites in Hampi ruins. What business the Congress or other Opposition parties have any right to criticise the Governments. They never questioned the Urbanization and encroachments and rather encouraged the same in the past. Government data shows that 24 monuments have altogether vanished under the Congress rule. Guns of Sher Shah in Assam is one such monument that is lost forever.

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