On Saturday, the Indian National Congress, TMC and CPI(M) accused the Modi govt of ‘leasing out the Red Fort’ to a corporate group signed a contract with the Ministry of Tourism to maintain the Red Fort. The Congress party wrote in a tweet: “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?”
The Congress also questioned how a private entity was given the mandate to maintain the iconic Red Fort, days after a corporate house signed an agreement with the tourism ministry under its ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project.The Dalimia Bharat group, under the memorandum of understanding, would maintain the monument and build basic infrastructure around it and has committed a sum of Rs 25 crore for the purpose over a period spanning five years. “They are handing over the iconic monument to a private business. What is your commitment to the idea of India, to the history of India? We know you have no commitment, but we still want to ask you,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera told reporters here.
“Do you have dearth of funds. Why funds for the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) lapse, why do they lapse. See the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General) reports. If they have paucity of funds, then why do they lapse?” he asked.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the government. She wrote: “Why can’t the Government even take care of our historic Lal Qila ? Red Fort is a symbol of our nation. It is where India’s flag is hoisted on Independence Day. Why should it be leased out ? Sad and dark day in our history.”
TMC spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Derek o’ Brien asked: “Wah! So here is acche din. Red Fort being ‘sold ‘? Now other national treasures ready to be auctioned to highest bidder. As Chairman Parliament Cmtee of Transport Tourism & Culture, can say matter was still being “discussed”. Pledge to stop this.”
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said: “Stop Privatising India’s Heritage: The Parliamentary Committee that went into the issue of handing over heritage sites to private corporate had decided against this unanimously. Govt should reverse its decision of privatising the Red Fort.”