The Centre has agreed to remove four sites in Assam from its “Adopt a Heritage” project after protests by various groups and reservations expressed by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government, tourism minister Chandan Brahma said on Friday.
Brahma said the decision was taken after a team led by him met Union Minister of Tourism KJ Alphons and apprised him of the opposition to the project in the state, Hindustan Times reported. “He has agreed to remove the sites in Assam from the scheme,” Brahma added.
Three monuments in Sibsagar city – Rang Ghar, Kareng Ghar and Siba Doul – and the Kaziranga National Park were brought under the scheme, which was launched in September to allow private and public sector corporations to adopt most of India’s top heritage sites. The companies will be responsible for building, operating and maintaining tourism infrastructure at these sites.
Opposition parties and student organisations on Wednesday condemned the government’s move, and said they would not allow anyone to take over the “state’s pride”. They held demonstrations across the state and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. The following day, the BJP said the protests took place because of a “communication gap” and “lack of understanding”.
Last month, the Dalmia Bharat Group announced that it had adopted Delhi’s Red Fort for five years, leading to a lot of criticism. The Centre later clarified that it did not mean that the iconic monument had been handed over to the company.