India has a vast and rich heritage. From art, sculpture, music, paintings and even monuments, the country has each and every one. In museums and in public settings, from North to South, you can see it all. However, in recent years, it seems to have become difficult to maintain such grand monuments. Now the government has created the Adopt a Heritage Project to battle the problem.
The Adopt a Heritage Project in India
Here’s what the Adopt a Heritage project entails. The government has plans to allow and entrust private and public sector companies as well as wealthy individuals to take over certain heritage sites/monuments for the development of tourism amenities. The companies or individuals would then come to be known as ‘Monument Mitras’ and adopt the sites. They would then be responsible operations and maintenance of not just the monuments but the amenities as well.
The Adopt a Heritage Project is slated, to begin with, 93 Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) ticketed monuments. Slowly, other natural and cultural site in India will be taken into the fold. The heritage sites are classified into various categories. The ‘Monument Mitras’ would take up the sites of varied visibility and footfall as a package. The project will also be a part of companies’ CSR. In turn, they would be acknowledged within the monument premises as well as on the Incredible India website.
Adopt a Heritage Project in Goa
As of a few days ago, the Dalmia Bharat has become the first corporate in India to adopt a historic monument. In an unprecedented move, they beat out the likes of IndiGo Airlines and the GMR group to adopt the fort. The Dalmia Bharat group has adopted the historic 17th century Red Fort in Delhi for INR 250 million (INR 25 crores) for a span of 5 years. However, this has sparked a lot of debate on the pros and cons of such an action.
The project is making it’s way to Goa now. According to TOI, the Union Ministry for Tourism’s project “Adopt a Heritage” will allow corporates to adopt at least three major heritage sites in Goa. These include the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the cluster of Old Goa’s remaining churches and even the old jailhouse at Aguada. But both the Minister for Archives and Archaeology Vijai Sardesai and Tourism Minister Manohar Azgaonkar said the state government was not taken into confidence.
“The government of Goa is completely in the dark about this,” Sardesai said.
Reservations about the Adopt a Heritage Project
Sardesai voiced concerns over the Adopt a Heritage Project. He said that past experience has shown that proposals implemented by the Centre often have larger implications than stated in the initial phase. “The past experience with Delhi is that they come with a small thing and they take over your whole asset. Old Goa is an asset of the state.” Furthermore, according to him, Basilica is a religious place of huge importance and also houses the relics of St.Francis Xavier. “It is not only a place of cultural importance, it is a place of religious importance,” he added.
Sardesai says there will be a meeting between all those concerned. “Minister of tourism, me as the minister for archaeology, the local MLA, parish priest of the cathedral, rector of Bom Jesus Basilica, bishop of the diocese and the chief secretary will meet immediately with ASI so that we are very clear what the scheme is about,” Sardesai said.
According to the Union ministry, Drishti Lifesaving Pvt. Ltd has also expressed an interest in adopting the Old Goa churches. However, it’s not clear how many churches are included in this. The state government hasn’t been informed of this either. “No one has discussed the matter with me”, Azgaonkar said.
The Old Goa cluster of churches and Aguada jail have been listed for adoption in phase II, while the Bom Jesu Church will be taken up in phase III.
Check out the official page for the Adopt a Heritage Project for more information.
Information credit – Times of India