What a ‘bargain’ of national heritage!

After handing over the precious resources of the country – water, forest, land as well as education, health, army, railways, airlines, communication etc. services and other big public undertakings to the profitable business houses, the government is now of historical importance to the country. The world famous heritage is being handed over to corporate houses in the name of their maintenance, that too without formally taking some money from them.
The question is that why the government is presenting a confessional statement of its refusal by handing over the historical heritage to the government instead of a white elephant like a milch cow. The Constitution of the country in its Article 49 has entrusted the Government with the responsibility of maintaining and preserving monuments of historical and national importance.

All the governments had been following this policy-directive principle of the constitution till now, but now the present government has decided to hand over about 100 world-famous heritage of historical importance to private groups i.e. business groups, keeping this constitutional directive out. . In this connection, the government has handed over the Red Fort built by the 5th Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme to an industry house called ‘Dalmia Bharat Group’ for 5 years in the name of maintenance. The same industry group has also taken the Gandikota Fort located in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh on contract with the government for 5 years.

Similarly, the Taj Mahal, which has earned a lot of income from tourists from India and abroadHas been jointly handed over to the GMR group associated with the construction industry and the ITC group associated with the tobacco and hotel business. It is being said on behalf of the government that it is handing over these heritage in private hands under corporate social responsibility. It may be asked why corporate social responsibility is only about these heritage? Why does the government not inculcate this sense of social responsibility in the corporate houses of the country towards the numerous government hospitals and government educational institutions in the country, whose plight is not hidden from anyone?

Why did no industry group come forward to fulfill its responsibility towards these hospitals and educational institutions? The fact is that almost all the inheritances that the government has planned to hand over to the historical heritage, are earned so much that their income not only drains their maintenance but also brings in a lot of money in the government treasury. . Take, for example, the income from the Red Fort. Till 2 years ago, the government was earning Rs 6.15 crore from the Red Fort. Accordingly, the Dalmia group adopting it will earn about Rs 30.75 crore in 5 years without increasing the fee and according to the agreement with the government, it has to spend only Rs 25 crore in 5 years.

As far as the Taj Mahal is concerned, this sign of love of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz is the country’s highest earning historical heritage. This gives the government an annual income of more than Rs 23 crore. In July 2016, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma had said in response to a question in the Lok Sabha that the Archaeological Survey of India earned a total of Rs 75 crore from the Taj Mahal from 2013 to 2016, while the maintenance of the Taj Mahal was spent in these 3 years. 11 crores only.

The annual maintenance cost of the Taj is around Rs 3-4 crore. The big expense is cleaning the marble to keep the Taj milky. It is evident that the Taj Mahal is a profitable earning heritage, despite this expenditure on its maintenance. However, it is not yet known how much the companies adopting it will spend on it. Nevertheless, it is certain that the expenditure on the Taj will be less than the income generated from it.

It is also decided that the companies adopting these heritage will not only charge the tourists visiting these heritage sites, they will also advertise on the platform and earn huge profits through their other business activities there. It is also more likely that these companies will also increase the fee fixed to see these heritage in the name of providing facilities there.

If this happens, it will be obvious that it will not be easy for a large section of the country’s population, including students and youth, to see the great historical and cultural heritage of our country. Just as the government is honoring the constitutional institutions of the country with its unnecessary interference and arbitrary decisions, now it is also playing with valuable heritage of historical and cultural importance of the country. His doing so is nothing less than a national crime.

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