ITC and GMR group in race to adopt Taj Mahal under ‘Adopt A Heritage’ scheme

New Delhi: The spokesperson of ITC Ltd. and GMR Group confirmed that the two companies are in a race to adopt the iconic monument, Taj Mahal. They have also written to the tourism ministry for monument’s adoption under ‘Adopt A Heritage’ scheme, that was launched by the government in September last year.

The scheme intends adoption of historical sites and monuments by private and state-owned companies. The companies are expected to pay 2% of their CSR (corporate social responsibility) budget for the upkeep of the monument or site. However, the site or monument will remain under the purview of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

In response to the company that is known for its ownership of Delhi Daredevils team, GMR Group, the government said the Taj was not part of the scheme because of its importance. “As such, the government proposed that GMR come up with a vision document to maintain the Taj corridor which connects the Taj Mahal to Agra Fort,” a senior official from the ASI said on condition of anonymity.

In the Union Budget of February, the government had announced the development of 10 prominent tourist sites as iconic tourist destinations, and it was later decided to put the Taj under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme as well, the official added as per a report by HT. ITC Ltd., the cigarettes and food consumable manufacturer, has also not been issues any LoI (Letter of Intent) just like the GMR Group.

Apart from Taj Mahal, the GMR has bid for the Itimad-Ud-Daulah and the Red Fort, its spokesperson said. On the other hand, ITC spokesperson said that the company has bid for the Rock Cut Hindu Temples in Andhra Pradesh and the Charminar of Hyderabad.