Dalmia Bharat Group pushes out IndiGo and GMR, ‘adopts’ the Red Fort

New Delhi: Under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme launched by President Ram Nath Kovind on World Tourism Day in September 2017, the 77-year-old Dalmia Bharat group bagged the contract to adopt the Red Fort for a period of five years. It is the first corporate house to adopt a historical monument.

Beating IndiGo Airlines and the GMR group, the cement company got the contract for ₹25 crore, a news paper report said. The company will now be responsible for maintaining and revamping the 17th century monument built by fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

Various companies had volunteered to adopt the monument under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ (Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan Project) scheme but the deal was signed with Dalmia Bharat group early in April. The announcement was made on Wednesday. The tourism ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Dalmia Bharat and Archeological Survey of India under the scheme to adopt the Red Fort in New Delhi and Gandikota Fort in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, the ministry said in a statement.

Under the contract, the Dalmia Bharat group will provide drinking water kiosks, street furniture-like benches and shop signage within six months. It will upgrade toilets, light up the Red Fort pathways and bollards, tactile maps, restore work and landscaping, build a 1,000-square-foot visitor facility centre, 3-D projection mapping of the Red Fort’s interior and exterior, battery-operated vehicles and charging stations for such vehicles and a thematic cafeteria within a year.

The conglomerate may also charge people visiting the Red Fort after getting clearances from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Tourism. Any revenue generated through the activities planned will have to be used for the Fort’s development and maintenance.

Sundeep Kumar, Executive Director, Dalmia Bharat said in a press release, “We are grateful to the Ministry of Tourism for trusting us and giving us this opportunity. With our dedicated efforts we will endeavour to make Red Fort a world-class monument in terms of amenities and experience. Such initiatives will enhance the tourist experience, resulting in more footfall from both domestic and foreign tourists. With our efforts we will make Indian heritage sites a symbol of pride for all of us.”

Dalmia Bharat will also introduce other key amenities for the visitors like App based Multi lingual Audio-Guide, Digital Interactive Kiosk, Digital (LED) screening, free Wi-Fi and cafeteria along with souvenir shop which will help in promoting local art and craftsmanship. Keeping in mind easy accessibility to the differently-abled visitors, there will be construction of ramps & differently-abled friendly toilets.

The heritage monuments taken up for ‘adoption’ by private groups include Delhi’s Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, Purana Qila, Safdarjung’s Tomb and Agrasen ki Baoli, Odisha’s Sun Temple, Ratnagiri monuments and the Rajarani temple, the ruins of Hampi in Karnataka, the Leh Palace and Stok Kangri in Jammu & Kashmir, Anjanta and Ellora caves in Maharashtra, Mattancherry Place in Kochi, Gangotri Temple and the Gomukh trail in Uttarakhand. The government had last year given letter of intent to seven private companies to adopt the sites.