Dalmia Group To Look After Red Fort For Five Years, Centre Says It’s A Non-Profit VentureSecurity force personnel walk in front of the Red Fort in New Delhi. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/GettyImages)

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Tourism signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Dalmia Bharat Group to ‘adopt’ the historic Red Fort in New Delhi for a period of five years at a cost of Rs 25 crore. The Congress alleged that the government was privatising the monument, going so far as to post a poll on Twitter asking which iconic structure should next be leased out adding 7, Lok Kalyan Marg to the options as well.

However, union Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma said that the entire agreement was a no-profit deal and that some services were given out the the Dalmia group after the government decided to do so in order to ‘add more value’ to heritage monuments.

The Adopt a Heritage project of the Centre is a scheme where private parties can come forward to look after certain heritage structures, thus being part of a group titled ‘Monument Mitras’. Under the MoU signed, the Dalmia group will work on illumination, and landscaping the monument and focus on providing better amenities including drinking water, clean toilets, accessible pathways for the differently-abled, signage, tourism information centres for foreigners and security and surveillance.

The Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan Project (Adopt a Heritage) was launched on 27 September 2017 (World Heritage Day) by President Ram Nath Kovind. On 24 April, the ministry awarded letters of intent to nine firms for 22 monuments that include the Taj Mahal, Chittorgarh Fort and Mehrauli Archaeological Park.

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