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

News Snippets

  • The government says Covid-19 is still in local transmission stage in India
  • Government scotches rumours of extending the lockdown beyond April14. Says no such plan
  • Centre asks states to give shelter and food to migrant workers to stop them from taking to the streets
  • RBI cuts repo rate by 75 bps, the steepest in 10 years
  • Centre writes to states regarding laxity in monitoring people who had arrived from abroad between January and March
  • Kerala reports a spurt in new cases
  • With 124 fresh cases on Friday, the number of reported cases in India stand at 854
  • Five of a family, including a 9-month-old-baby test positive for Covid-19 in Nadia district in West Bengal on Friday
  • The Pakistani army is reportedly forcibly moving all Covid-19 patients to PoK and Gilgit
  • Untimely azaans in J&K mosques spark panic gathering
  • Stocks rise - Sensex up by 1400 points and Nifty goes above the 8600 mark
  • Rahul Gandhi says the economic package is "the first step in the right direction"
  • The government announces wide-ranging measures to help the poor overcome the economic hardship caused by Covid-19
  • G20 leaders to hold a virtual meeting today to explore ways of fighting Covid-19 in a coordinated manner
  • The Delhi government orders testing of all medical staff after the positive test on a Delhi mohalla clinic doctor
Death toll reaches 27 as Covid-19 cases across India reach 974 on Saturday
oppn parties
Red Fort: Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan Is Not A Sell-Out

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2018-05-03 22:30:10

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.