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The government, however, insisted that it was not for profits.

The Dalmia Bharat Group, under a memorandum of understanding, would maintain the Red Fort and build basic infrastructure.

Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera cast aspersions on the government's commitment to the idea of India and the history of India. "Facilities like wheelchair availability, battery-operated vehicles, Braille signage are some of the key additions which will make Red Fort a barrier-free monument". Does he even understand that even the 1857 struggle of Independence of India, where Bahadur Shah Zafar from Red Fort, Rani Jhansi, from Tantia Tope and many-many others from other different nooks and corner of the country, Red Fort became a symbol of Britishers oppression and rising of India in unison. Why should it be leased out?

There are around 100 monuments which will be similarly maintained by private parties.

The government launched "Adopt A Heritage" scheme in the year 2017. "You may have the MacDonalds Stadium but you certainly don't have the MacDonalds Lincoln Memorial".

Corporate individuals are invited to adopt heritage sites and to take up responsibility for making them and promote sustainable tourism through conservation and development under their Corporate Social Responsibility activities. The group got the contract for Rs 250 million for a period of 5 years beating Indigo and GMR group in the bidding process.

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Top officials of Bharat Dalmia group revealed their intention of completing the night illumination of the monument before it is handed over for Independence Day preparations. "In fact, it will be allowed to proclaim in a prominently displayed sign that the Red Fort has been adopted by Dalmia Bharat Limited", the CPI (M) statement said. Firstly, the government has promised the Dalmia Bharat Group that it would be held "harmless" in case the Archaeological Survey of India and others like Delhi's district collector decide to pursue any claims related to the work done on the monument.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that the Red Fort was a symbol of independent India and handing over the monument to a corporate entity was "nothing short of blasphemous". At Dalmia Bharat, we take pride in Indian culture and practise it in the workplace.

The contract not only focuses on improving the quality of experience visitors would have by going to Red Fort but it also provides substantial visibility to the Dalmia Group as a brand. Adopting a Heritage Project is a unique endeavour by Ministry of Tourism which envisions in developing monuments, heritage and tourist sites across India to enhance their tourism potential and cultural importance.

As part of the deal, the conglomerate would be able to use the "Dalmia" brand name on souvenirs, banners during fests and cultural events and other things that it would do. These include the Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, Kangra Fort in Himachal Pradesh, Buddhist Kaneri caves in Mumbai, among others.

Former Union culture secretary Jawhar Sircar told The Telegraph: "The government can always try an experiment but it is only the ASI that is mandated under law to preserve our irreplaceable monuments". After this, the group will again take the Red Fort in their hands.


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