A private corporate company named Dalmia Group has signed a MoU with the Ministry of Tourism and Archaeological Survey of India under which, Dalmia Group will be responsible for complete maintenance of the Red Fort in Delhi and Gandikota Fort in Kadapa.

Under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project initiated by the Government, private companies will be allowed to take over the maintenance of heritage monuments in India and privatise the duties for better and consistent outcomes. On Saturday, a private Delhi-based firm Dalmia Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Tourism and Archaeological Survey of India to become first corporate firm to have received maintenance contract of a historical monument like Red Fort. Considered to be the most prominent heritage monument of India and a national icon, Red Fort will be maintained by Dalmia Group for five years under Rs 25 crore contract.

The Dalmia Group was founded in 1935 by Jaidayal Dalmia and is currently headquartered in Delhi with its services spread across sectors like cement, sugar, travel, minerals, refractory products and electronics. The bidding for receiving maintenance contract of Red Fort was bagged by the Dalmia Group today, as it came up with better deals than IndiGo Group and the GMR Group. The contract to maintain the iconic Red Fort was given to Dalmia Group as a part of the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project under which, over 90 heritage monuments are up for ‘adoption’.

The purpose of the scheme is to develop public-private partnership in conservation and maintenance of any heritage site and let private companies become ‘Monument Mitras’ (Friends of monuments). These Monument Mitras will be responsible to develop basic and advanced amenities at monuments and look after their operation and maintenance for fixed contract time under a fixed contract-based payment scheme. But since it is about India, the probability of corruption issues is pretty high and privatisation of national heritage monument is a risky bid – because there is no room for blunders, heritages must be well-taken care of – they cannot be rebuilt.