After many failed attempts to improve the mismanagement around Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, the Union Tourism Ministry has finally decided to offer these monuments up for adoption to any willing private enterprise.
In a meeting called by the Union Tourism Secretary Rashmi Verma in Agra, it was decided that the ministry will offer city monuments for adoption under its 'Adopt Heritage' plan, wherein private agencies or companies will undertake the maintenance and tourist facilitation.
According to a senior official, several companies have expressed interest in adopting the Taj Mahal, but there have been no takers for the Agra Fort or Fatehpur Sikri.
He said that the tourism secretary had come to Agra to hold a meeting on 'Iconic Tourist Site Development Project' and indicated that the Union government was already working on this project and private enterprises have expressed interest in adopting over 60 major monuments in the country.
If this project goes through, the ASI's role of maintaining these monuments will be limited to just conservation. Everything from drinking water, parking, landscaping and facilitation will be handed over to the concerned private company.
Sources from the UP Tourism Department claimed that the project has already been initialised. This meeting was purportedly held to gauge the reactions of the local tourism industry towards the project.