The Ministry of Tourism has signed an MoU with Dalmia Bharat and the Archaeological Survey of India allowing the the cement company to adopt the iconic Red Fort monument in New Delhi and Gandikota Fort in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project. This is the first time a private company has been allowed to take control of a national monument.
President Ram Nath Kovind had launched the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme on World Tourism Day in September last year. Under the arrangement, Dalmia Bharat will look after the operations and maintenance of the site for five years, it said.
Opposition parties including the Congress, CPI-M and the Trinamool questioned the government’s move to allow a private entity to maintain the iconic Red Fort. The Congress party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is preparing to mortgage India’s symbol of Independence, the Red Fort to corporates. Does Modiji or BJP even understand the importance of Lal Quila?”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee asked, “Why can’t the Government even take care of our historic Lal Qila ? Red Fort is a symbol of our nation. It is where India’s flag is hoisted on Independence Day. Why should it be leased out ? Sad and dark day in our history.”
However, the government’s move received instant approval from celebrities known for their support for the Centre’s BJP government. Author Chetan Bhagat was one of them, who vociferously supported the government’s move. But, in his zeal to support the Narendra Modi government, Bhagat faced incessant trolling on social media and was even given a crash course on English.
Writing on Twitter in defence of the government, Bhagat had said, “Seeing corporate sector as evil (and still using their products) is one of India’s major mindset problems. Govt-private partnerships like Red Fort clean up should be encouraged. Saves us money. Gives corporate CSR. And no Mr Dalmia is going to live like a king in Red Fort!”
His another tweet read, “If you hire someone to clean your house doesn’t mean you are selling your house to them. No, Red Fort is not being sold. It’s an innovative way to save the government some money and preserve a monument. #redfort” It was this tweet that earned Bhagat of social media users’ wrath with many reminding him that there was a difference between hiring someone to clean your house and giving control of a national monument to a private company.
Here’s how Twitteratis reacted;
In case you don’t have enough sense, let me tell u that the Red Fort is not anyone’s house ! It is a Heritage Site ! When they r charge us so much tax, what will the BJP do with extra ? money ? This never happened in India before ! @chetan_bhagat https://t.co/yoJt1Md1Ll
— Parveen Kader (@ParveenKader) April 28, 2018
@chetan_bhagat I thought being an IIM graduate your English was good but I was wrong. If you hire a caretaker for your baby it’s called Nanny, you will not say, Nanny adopt my baby. Red Fort
— Himanshu Verma (@babuofusa) April 28, 2018
Except that red fort does not belong to any ONE person unlike a home. So it should not be handed over to ONE entity, rather shud be done by the community a.k.a. govt. C’mon bhagat, you are getting too old I guess. Losing relevance really fast
— Mizanullah (@mizan1308) April 28, 2018
How can somebody talk so foolish , has GOI hired Dalmia Group for sweeping Red Fort ??
— pradeep gupta (@68pradeepgupta) April 28, 2018