Leasing out of Shah Jahan’s iconic Lal Qila: move widely condemned

New Delhi: Ministry of Tourism of Modi government has given Red Fort the structure having historical importance on lease on just Rs 25 crore Dalmia Bharat group. The move drew flak from all quarters. While the Congress has asked how the government can give Red Fort to a private company, CPM condemned the move and reminded that the parliamentary committee had opposed giving out historical and cultural heritages to private companies.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee asked in a tweet ‘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’

Noted historian Irfan Habeeb expressed deep sorrow over government decision and termed it synonymous to destroying the heritage structure of the country.

It must be noted that Red Fort has become the first historical building to go into the hands of private company under the ‘Adopt A Heritage’ scheme launched by the Indian government in September 2017.

The 77-year-old Dalmia Bharat group has become the first corporate house in India’s history to adopt a historical monument in a contract worth Rs 250 million (or Rs 25 crore) spanning five years.

The 17th century Red Fort was built by India’s fifth Mughal ruler Shah Jahan, as he moved his administrative capital from Agra to present-day Delhi.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Dalmia Bharat Limited, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on April 9. The deal went public with the deal on April 25, 2018.