Parl panel for renting of heritage sites

NEW DELHI: A parliamentary standing committee report has recommended that the Culture Ministry rent out ceratin areas of well known heritage sites for social events at premium rates to generate revenue.

The Lok Sabha Public Accounts Committee on “Preservation and Conservation of Monuments and Antiquities’ headed by Mallikarjun Kharge said they could be rented out with proper guidelines in place.

“The recommendation for the ministry to explore enhancing revenue generation through premium renting of well known sites for social and family events with proper guidelines has not been brooded upon with seriousness.Culture Ministry

“The committee had deliberated the issue in-depth and considered and opined that certain areas of some well-known monuments like the Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Victoria Memorial hall could very well be earmarked and rented out for events like marriages, plays and musicals at premium rates without hurting the monuments by developing strict guidelines and close supervision,” it said.

Earlier, in its reply, the ministry had rejected the idea, which was proposed by the committee in its earlier report, and said it would hurt the monuments. However, the committee has now reiterated its suggestion.

“If ASI is not in favour of renting heritage monuments for social and family events, then possibilities be explored if such events can be held in the backdrop of those monuments.

“For instance, in the 1990s, the music concert of one Greek composer was held in the backdrop of Taj Mahal on the river bed between river Yamuna and Taj precincts which brought international fame to the monument,” the report stated.

The Tourism Ministry had faced severe criticism earlier this year for its ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme in which one of the monuments that were ‘adopted’ by a private player was the Red Fort.

Critics alleged that the government was handing over the country’s heritage to private parties after which the ministry had to clarify that they will only be in charge of maintenance of the heritage site. PTI