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Leftist media portal The Wire journalist claims Red Fort sold off to Dalmia Group, here is how she is wrong

The truth is that the Red Fort was not 'sold' as claimed, but the Dalmia Group had 'adopted' the iconic property in 2018 under Modi Government's ‘Adopt a Heritage’ initiative.

On May 19, Thursday, ‘journalist’ Sumedha Pal, working for the leftist propaganda website The Wire, took to Twitter to deride the central government by claiming that Modi has ‘sold off’ the iconic Red Fort to the Dalmia Group. This, however, is an entirely false claim made by the ‘journalist’ purely with an intent to belittle the Modi government. The truth is that the Red Fort was not ‘sold’ as claimed, but the Dalmia Group had ‘adopted’ the iconic property in 2018 under Modi Government’s ‘Adopt a Heritage’ initiative.

“None for Redfort cause they’ve sold it off to Dalmias,” The Wire ‘journalist’ Sumedha Pal, wrote on Twitter on Thursday, responding Rana Ayyub’s question on whether there will be a call to demolish the Red Fort because it was also built by Mughals.

In her Tweet glorifying the Mughals and mocking the BJP government at the centre, the Islamist propagandist Rana Ayyub, accused of keeping funds collected for philanthropic work, wrote, “This is the 75th year of Indian independence. Will Prime Minister Modi give his speech from the Red Fort built by the Mughals, considering your ideological forefathers have not built a single monument worth showcasing to the world. No calls of demolishing the Red Fort yet ?

In her eagerness to criticise the BJP government, The Wire’s ‘journalist’ soon concluded that “they,” referring to the BJP government, “sold” the Red Fort to the Dalmias. This is a blatant fabrication concocted solely to disparage the BJP government. Sumedha Pal would have done better had she read some of her own, if not any other portal’s archived reports before jumping at the opportunity to criticise the BJP government.

On April 29, 2018, the leftist news portal The Wire, had, in fact, published a detailed report ranting about how the opposition parties had been slamming the Modi Govt for ‘handing over’ Red Fort to the Dalmia Group. The report was titled, “Opposition Slams Modi Govt for ‘Handing Over’ Red Fort to Dalmia Group”.

Screengrab of The Wire report published on April 29, 2018

The next month, the leftist news portal published another article titled, “Red Fort Not Alone; Dalmia Bharat Also Adopting 14th Century Gandikota Fort”, rehashing the claim that the Dalmia Bharat group had indeed ‘adopted’ the iconic Red Fort under the government’s “Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan” project.

Screengrab of The Wire report published on May 2, 2018

Many other media houses had also reported then, on how the Dalmia conglomerate went on to become the first corporate house in India’s history to adopt the 17th century Red Fort in a contract spanning five years. The sole purpose of the initiative was the upkeep of the heritage site.

TOI report published on April 29, 2018
Business Standard report published on April 29, 2018

OpIndia had also written a report detailing the hypocrisy of the opposition parties over the Modi government’s ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme. We reported on how Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien had displayed anger and outrage at the Government of India’s ‘Adopt a Heritage‘ initiative which aims to rope in private players for the development of basic and advanced tourist amenities and look after operation and management of these amenities. Derek, while voicing his anger referred to the same initiative as monuments being ‘sold’.

OpIndia report published on April 29, 2018

However, it had later come to light that the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, which was headed by Derek O’Brien himself, had not only welcomed the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ initiative but also recommended that major corporates may be compelled to adopt the heritage sites under CSR (corporate social responsibility).

The Modi govt had given the Red Fort for ‘adoption’ NOT ‘sold’ it to the Dalmia group

The cement manufacturing giant had ‘adopted’ not ‘bought’ (as proclaimed by The Wire journalist) the iconic Red Fort under the  ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’, a unique venture of the Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which envisages developing heritage sites, tourist sites and monuments across the length and breadth of the country in order to make them tourist-friendly so that the tourism potential and the cultural importance could be enhanced in a phased and planned manner.

President Ram Nath Kovind launched the project on World Tourism Day in September 2017. Under the initiative, the central government invited public and private sector companies, as well as individuals, to develop chosen monuments, heritage sites, and tourism destinations around India.

The company that would adopt a particular heritage property would be required to develop and maintain basic amenities such as drinking water, accessibility for the differently-abled and senior citizens, standardised signage, cleanliness, public conveniences, and illumination, as well as advanced amenities such as surveillance systems, night-viewing facilities, and tourism facilitation centres.

The sites/monuments were chosen based on tourist footfall and visibility and could be adopted for a five-year period by private and public sector enterprises and people (known as Monument Mitras).

The ‘oversight and vision committee,’ co-chaired by the Tourism Secretary and the Culture Secretary, selected the Monument Mitras based on the bidder’s ‘vision’ for the development of all services at the cultural site. There was no financial bid involved. The corporate sector was expected to support the site’s upkeep through corporate social responsibility (CSR) money. As a result, the Monument Mitras would have limited visibility on the site and on the Incredible India website.

Modi govt’s ‘Adopt a Heritage’ tourism scheme had covered 25 heritage sites until December 2020

In December 2020 it was reported that the Modi government’s ‘Adopt a Heritage’ tourism scheme had covered 25 heritage sites till then. The major monuments which have been handed over to the “Monument Mitras” include the historic Red Fort which has been allotted to the Dalmia Bharat Ltd, Qutub Minar (allotted to Yatra.Com), Safdarjung Tomb (allotted to Travel Corporation of India), and Jantar Mantar (allotted to SBI Foundation) among others.

Earlier in 2016, 14 PSUs including the Steel Authority of India (SAI), Indian Oil, UCO Bank, ONGC, had adopted over 18 monuments, including the monuments at Lodi Gardens, Khajuraho Temples, and the Ahom Monuments in Assam.

So it becomes reasonably clear that the Modi government has not sold the iconic Red Fort to the Dalmia group but had only given it for ‘adoption’ under its ‘Adopt a Heritage’, with the sole aim of maintaining heritage assets that have been neglected by the past regimes.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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