Ministry of State (MoS) for Culture Mahesh Sharma on Saturday rubbished allegations that the historical Red Fort was ‘auctioned off’ by the Centre, and said that the monument was adopted by Dalmia Bharat Group to render value addition services to it as part of the Centre’s scheme. “The President announced a scheme of Government of India on World Tourism Day 2017, on 27th September, that those interested in value addition to any services of the monuments can come forward. A lot of organisations came forward and some services of Red Fort have been given to Dalmia Group,” Sharma told ANI, adding that no profit activity would take place
Sharma said that other monuments have also been adopted by various organisations under the said scheme. “This was done on 27 September 2017, so I don’t know why people are raising their fingers now. If they have any queries, they can ask,” he added. The scheme “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” was launched to preserve the rich cultural and natural heritage and to promote tourism across the country. Under the project, corporates and citizens were encouraged to adopt heritage sites for creation, operation and maintenance of basic and advanced amenities at tourist destinations.
Dalmia Bharat was one of the agencies to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Government to adopt a monument as part of the project. Earlier in the day, the Congress took up the matter to accuse the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led govenrmnent leasing out a heritage place to a private entity. “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,” the party’s Twitter handle posted.