Opposition, Shiv Sena slam BJP on “bartering away” Red Fort

The main Opposition Congress, the Trinamool Congress and BJP ally Shiv Sena slammed the BJP on Saturday for “bartering away” the Red Fort, a symbol of the freedom struggle, to a corporate group

IANS Photo
IANS Photo


The Congress on Saturday accused the Modi government of “bartering away” Red Fort, a symbol of India’s freedom struggle and a monument of country’s glorious past, by leasing out the historical monument to a corporate group.

Taking a potshot at the Modi government for signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Dalmia Bharat Limited, Congress asked, “Does the BJP understand that every brick and mortar, that every particle of dust in the Red Fort symbolises the sacrifice of millions and millions of our country men who fought the Britishers and before that many other forces. Does BJP, which only believes in pseudo and fake nationalism, not have ₹5 crore a year for maintenance of the Red Fort?”

It is important to note that under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ plan which was launched last year, the bid for maintenance of the Red Fort was won by Dalmia Bharat Limited.
Besides the Dalmia group, IndiGo Airlines and the GMR group were in the race to bag the project.

“It is a sad letter day for India for Prime Minister and Modi Government are now bartering away the symbol of freedom movement like Red Fort to his corporate friends for maintenance. Does Prime Minister Shri Modi even know or understand that Red Fort is a symbol of India’s National freedom movement? ” questioned Congress leader Surjewala in a press conference on Saturday.

“Does Prime Minister know that the corporate entity would now be charging money from ordinary Indians for even entering the Red Fort?” he alleged, adding that the Red Fort will now be open for commercial functions by payment of a fee.

As per the MoU, signed between Modi government and the Dalmia Bharat Group, the corporate house would maintain the iconic monument and build basic infrastructure around it within a budget of ₹25 crore for the next five years.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the Dalmia Bharat group has agreed to provide basic amenities at the 17th century monument within six months. These include stalling drinking water kiosks, fixing street furniture-like benches and signages to guide the visitors.

Rubbishing the Congress’ allegations, Union minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma said that no “profit activity” would take place behind the scene. “Some services of Red Fort has been given to Dalmia Group. No profit activity will take place,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Shiv Sena, RJD, Trinamool lash out on Red Fort decision

BJP ally Shiv Sena has also come down heavily on the government’s decision. Expressing her anguish over the decision, Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said ‘‘it is sad on the part of government that it cannot maintain our national heritage.” She asked government to review its decision. ’’

Mocking government’s decision and the pseudo nationalism propagated by the ruling party, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav tweeted that now onwards, PM will address the nation from a podium either owned or controlled by a corporate company.

Terming it a ‘sad and dark day’ in our history, Trinamool Congress chief and Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee also questioned the decision.

A marvel of Mughal architecture, the 17th century Red Fort was built by India’s fifth Mughal ruler Shah Jahan. Made of red sand stone, the monument was the main residence of the emperors of Mughal dynasty for almost 200 years. The last Mughal Emperor BahadurShah Zafar was put on trial by the Britishers in the Red Fort, before exiling him to Rangoon, Burma in 1858.

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