oppn parties Red Fort: Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan Is Not A Sell-Out

News Snippets

  • Imran Khan raises nuclear war bogey again, says if Pakistan loses a conventional war, it might fight till the end with its nuclear arsenal
  • Searching for Rajeev Kumar, ex-CP, Kolkata Police, the CBI approaches state DGP to know about his whereabouts
  • Ferry overturns in the river Godavari in Andhra. 46 feared dead
  • Supreme Court to hear pleas on Jammu & Kashmir today
  • Ghulam Nabi Azad moves Supreme Court for ordering the government to allow him to visit his family in J&K
  • GST Council meeting to focus on leakages and evasions, expected to tighten processes, especially regarding input tax credit
  • Finance minister, citing figures for July 2019, says that industrial production and fixed investment is showing signs of revival
  • Amit Shah's comment on Hindi as the unifying language draws the ire of MK Stalin and Siddaramaiah. Stalin says the country is India not Hindia
  • On Hindi Diwas today, Amit Shah says use of mother language must be increased but Hindi should be adopted as the common language of the country
  • Pakistan raises white flag on LoC to claim bodies of dead soldiers
  • India beat Bangladesh by 5 runs to lift the U-19 Asia Cup
  • A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court will examine the amendments to the SC/ST act made after an apex court order that 'diluted' the provisions and which were reinstatd by the amendment
  • Delhi government decides to re-implement the odd-even system of traffic management from November 4 to 15
  • UP to discontinue law that allows the state government to pay the income tax dues of ministers
  • Anand Sharma of the Congress to replace P Chidambaram on the parliamentary committee on home affairs
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
Red Fort: Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan Is Not A Sell-Out

By Linus Garg

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.
Has the government sold the Red Fort to the Dalmia Bharat group? If we go by the cacophony raised by opposition parties, it seems so. But the fact of the matter is that for a fee of Rs 5cr per year, the group has been tasked with maintenance and upkeep of the iconic monument under the Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan scheme that the government had notified in 2017. Despite Trinamool Congress spokesman Derek O’ Brien’s stinging criticism of the agreement for Red Fort, the parliamentary committee that he chairs had congratulated the government for thinking up this scheme and had said that it will improve the facilities at heritage sites and increase the inflow of tourists. As soon as the agreement for the Red Fort was signed, O’Brien said that things were under discussion and the government had jumped the gun. But LoI for 14 heritage sites were given to 7 companies as far back as October 2017. Why didn’t the committee object then or in the intervening 7 months?

Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan is a good initiative by the NDA government. It says that public sector and private companies or corporate individuals can adopt heritage sites, as part of their CSR initiative, for a fee and then develop and maintain these sites employing world-class tools and best practices to make them tourist friendly. What’s in it for the companies? A chance to be associated with a heritage site will offer them excellent opportunity for brand building. What’s in it for the government? A chance to get these sites developed in a world-class way without bureaucratic red tape and delays. What’s in it for the citizens? A chance to experience heritage sites in a better way with added attractions like sound and light shows, cleaner toilets, better resting places and better food. It seems to be a win-win situation for all.

Adopting a heritage site will not mean the government will hand it over completely. The agreement will of course set extensive guidelines and will also spell out how much the corporate will invest and in what facilities. The government will obviously have an expert panel that will oversee how the corporate goes about it. The only thing that needs to be kept in mind is that the advertising by the adopter needs to be kept at such levels that it does not become in-your-face or causes visual pollution or destroys the beauty of the monument. The fee of Rs 5cr per year for Red Fort seems too low but if the Dalmia Bharat group has committed large funds for developing new facilities, then it is a good start. Despite the criticism by the opposition, this is a scheme that is worth trying out.