Guwahati: In what comes as a big relief for people in Assam, the Centre has agreed to remove four monuments, including Kaziranga National Park, from the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project following statewide protests. The Union government faced a lot of criticism after it allowed the Dalmia Bharat group to “adopt” the Red Fort, a 17th century monument built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
Assam Tourism Minister Chandan Brahma made the announcement on Friday after a meeting with Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons and said, “The matter was being reconsidered after we had a talk with the protesting groups. Today, we apprised the Union minister of our concerns and he has agreed to our demands. The three monuments in Sivsagar and Kaziranga National Park have been excluded from this scheme.”
On May 6, the state government had met with protesters of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), All Tai Ahom Students Union, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and took note of their resentment against the scheme.
Jungle Travels India Group (JTI), Guwahati-based travel company, was to become the ‘Monument Mitra’ for these four sites — three historical Ahom-era monuments in Sivasagar district, including Rang Ghar, Kareng Ghar and Siva Dol and Kaziranga.
Minister Brahma further added that the state government has earmarked Rs 37 crore for maintenance and developing tourist amenities in and around the three monumental sites in Sivasagar.
The ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project was launched by President Ram Nath Kovind on World Tourism Day in September 2017. The scheme aims at entrusting heritage sites or monuments and other tourist sites to private sector and public sector companies and individuals for development of tourist amenities.
(With inputs from Partha Borah)