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Friday, 1 June 2018

India sells its historical heritage

Por olimurs.92

A controversial government decision has generated a wave of debates in India, because people believe that the jewels of the country will be handed to foreign hands. The thing is that senior leaders of the country have long announced that they are in favor of private companies taking charge of emblematic places maintenance and marketing.

Some local media have pointed out that this decision is the same as auctioning India’s historical heritage.

Indian Government’s opinion was reiterated after the signing of a contract between the Dalmia Bharat Group, a conglomerate specialized in producing sugar and cement, and the Ministry of Tourism of the Asian country, to acquire the management of the Red Fort. This place is a 17th-century Muslim-origin monument, considered a World Heritage Site and located at the gates of the Old City. In addition, in his interior, all the 15 of August the prime minister pronounces the traditional speech that commemorates the independence day of India.

Like the Red Fort, this action is intended to be used in more than 90 sites, among which Taj Mahal itself, the minaret of Qutub Minar or Chand Baori’s stepwell stand out. The idea is to encourage private companies to something like take a place and, once they are its owner, the company will put the price of tickets, get the collection and even show your brand all over the place and in the souvenirs themselves.

On top of that, the fear of privatization is not their only complaint, many parties also fear that the story will be misrepresented since the companies themselves will be responsible for preparing brochures that explain the origin and history of each monument.

Similarly, an existing clause in the contract has caused enormous controversy, exempting the entities from any responsibility for possible damage to the monuments during their management. This decision has caused enormous criticism and the opposition has formally accused the government of auctioning the national relics to the highest bidder and has promoted the hashtag #IndiaForSale to criticize the measure.

On the other hand, Alphons J. Kannanthanam, secretary of state for tourism insisted that this places will remain under the Archaeological Survey of India control, which is responsible for national historical heritage. The politician clarified that the agreement is only for the development, operations and maintenance of tourism services, and the companies involved will only spend and not earn money.