Uttarakhand to frame guidelines for adoption of heritage sites

The Uttarakhand tourism department is planning to frame rules to ensure private companies’ adoption of its nine heritage sites listed under ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project. Nearly 450 companies came forward to participate in the initiative after its launch by President Ram Nath Kovind on the World Tourism Day 2017.

The project, launched by the Govt of India, aims to identify monuments and heritage sites and hand over their upkeep to a corporate entity or public sector undertaking under their corporate social responsibility (CSR) for five years. During these years, the company will ensure basic amenities and well-being of the heritage site but without drawing tourism benefit from it. This process of adoption is handled by the union tourism ministry, culture ministry and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

In January, Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) adopted Uttarakhand’s Gangotri to Gaumukh trail. The trek is the only heritage site of 10 such sites to have been adopted in the state. For the past 11 months, not even a single undertaking has come forward to adopt remaining 9 heritage sites.

“We are preparing a policy and are in talks with the tourism ministry so that we could promote our heritage sites on state-level,” said tourism secretary Dilip Jawalkar.

People close to the matter claimed that heritage sites identified here are in remote areas and unpopular.

“Unlike most popular heritage sites like Taj Mahal and Red Fort, the sites in Uttarakhand aren’t famous. That’s why there are no companies coming forward to adopt them. Most of these sites are remotely located as well and scarcely receive tourists,” an officer said requesting anonymity.

Sites like Devalgarh Raj Rajrajeshwari Devi Temple, Gujru Garhi and Deeba ka Danda in Pauri and others are less popular and remote, said the officer.

With the recent row on adoption of Delhi’s Red Fort by Dalmia Bharat Limited, authorities in Uttarakhand have become cautious. The Congress and historians opposed handing over the historic monument to a private player.

“The centre government is promoting heritage sites, but it’s our mandate, too. We can chalk out a better strategy and convince public sector undertakings to come forward for the scheme,” he added.


Source: Hindustan Times