The Taj Mahal
is in news lately. But, it is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Union Tourism
Ministry announced its first list of 14 heritage sites
'adopted' by private groups under its 'Adopt a Heritage' programme on Wednesday in which the 17th-century monument did not feature.
secretary Rashmi Verma said while the ministry had not found private entities coming forward to adopt the Taj Mahal
just yet, the heritage monument would remain available for adoption in future, The Times of India
The heritage sites
that were adopted for maintenance and upkeep were Delhi's Qutub Minar, Jantar Mantar, Purana Qila, Safdarjung's Tomb and Agrasen ki Baoli; Odisha's Sun Temple, Ratnagiri monuments and the Rajarani temple; the ruins of Hampi; Leh Palace; Anjanta and Ellora caves; Mattancherry Place in Kochi; Gangotri Temple premises and the Gomukh trail and Stok Kangri in Ladakh .
Read more: Taj Mahal: Politics of hate, rebellion of love
The ministry issued letters of intent to seven private entities who adopted 14 heritage sites
under the scheme.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh
Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath visited the Taj Mahal
today. He became the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief minister of UP to visit the "monument of love".
What is 'Adopt a Heritage' programme?
Under the 'Adopt a Heritage' programme, heritage sites
will be entrusted to public and private enterprises and individuals for maintenance. President Ram Nath Kovind had launched the initiative on World Tourism
Day last month.
The programme is an attempt to boost the country's tourism
with “greater focus on digital presence and social media”.
Those entrusted with the development of tourist amenities at the adopted sites will be known as ‘Monument Mitras’.
The Unesco World Heritage site has reportedly failed to feature in Uttar Pradesh’s latest tourism
booklet. The 32-page booklet, which has the famed Ganga aarti as its cover image, has been printed to promote the tourist spots in Uttar Pradesh, but surprisingly the Taj Mahal
is allegedly missing from the list. However, the Taj Mahal
found a place of pride in the 2018 calendar brought out by the state government last week.
Read more: Dropped from tourist map, Taj Mahal finds place in UP govt's 2018 calendar
Following the Uttar Pradesh Tourism
Ministry controversy, many BJP leaders made objections statements on the monument. While senior Haryana Minister Anil Vij termed the marble monument as a "beautiful cemetery, UP MLA Sangeet Som said, "Taj Mahal
should not be a part of our history as its creators were the ones who wanted to wipe out Hindus".
BJP MP Vinay Katiyar joined the league saying " Taj Mahal
was once a Shiv Temple and a Shivaling was also built, which was later removed".