GMR Sports, a part of infrastructure conglomerate GMR Group, and consumer products and cigarette company ITC Ltd have expressed interest in adopting the Taj Mahal under the Tourism Ministry's 'Adopt a Heritage' scheme started last year. The scheme invites government and private parties to operate and maintain heritage sites. The ministry today awarded the Letters of Intent to nine agencies for 22 monuments of Phase-IV of the scheme, including the Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, Chittorgarh Fort in Rajasthan, Mehrauli Archeological Park and Gol Gumbad in Delhi. Union Minister for Tourism K J Alphons asked the stakeholders to "protect, preserve and market" the heritage of India. He emphasised on creating awareness among corporates and citizens to adopt the heritage sites under the scheme for maintenance of amenities at tourist destinations. The ministry also signed an MoU with Dalmia Bharat and the Archaeological Survey of India under the project to adopt the iconic Red Fort monument in New Delhi and Gandikota Fort in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, it said in a statement. The Adopt a Heritage scheme was launched by President Ram Nath Kovind on World Tourism Day in September last year. With a budget of more than Rs 5 crore per year, the cement manufacturing company joins "monument mitras" including other private sector companies, which will look after the operations and maintenance of the site for five years, it said. Under the project, it will construct, landscape, illuminate and maintain activities related to provision and development of tourist amenities. This includes basic and advanced amenities such as public conveniences, clean drinking water, cleanliness of the monument, accessibility for all, signage, cloakroom facilities, illumination and night viewing, surveillance system, tourist facilitation-cum-interpretation centre. Keeping in mind the easy accessibility to the differently-abled visitors, there will be ramps and toilet facilities for the differently-abled. Facilities like wheelchairs, battery-operated vehicles, braille signages are some of the key additions, which will make the Red Fort a barrier-free monument. The company said in a statement that advanced surveillance system like pan-tilt-zoom CCTV cameras will be installed. Dalmia Bharat will also assist in controlling the advanced tourist flow management system linked with carrying capacity of the monuments, including light and sound shows with regular cultural shows and facilitation of night visits to the monuments.