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'Safety First, Losses Later': As Tourism Spots Shut Due to Coronavirus, Govt Puts Focus on Isolation

Taj Mahal. (Representative image)

Taj Mahal. (Representative image)

Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel said the government has banned tourist visits and even ASI monuments and temples are shutdown.

New Delhi: Amid the coronavirus scare, the government on Tuesday said its immediate priority is to ensure safety of people and it will later evaluate losses incurred by the Culture and Tourism industry due to restrictions on visitors.

Responding to series of queries during the Question Hour, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel said the government has banned tourist visit and even ASI monuments and temples are shutdown.

"The House is aware that our priority is to ensure security and safety of the people. ...I have talked to all stakeholders, we will review the losses later," Patel said in the Upper House.

Different ministries are coordinating to contain the impact of coronavirus in the country, he added.

Responding to a query whether the government has handed over recovered stolen artefacts and idols to original owners, the Minister said the External Affairs Ministry deals with this after they are retrieved. Right now, the recovered items are kept in a Delhi museum.

Asked if the central government can take over investigation of stolen items in the state, the Minister said the Centre is responsible for ASI monuments alone and not state monuments.