'Adopt A Heritage' - Reviving the abandoned heritage sites of India
Aguada Fort in Goa, Jantar Mantar in Delhi and Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra - What do these three Heritage sites have in common? Well these heritage sites, among many others, have been adopted by different Indian companies as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility ( CSR ). These companies ( called Monument Mitras under this project ) will be responsible for the renovation and upkeep of these ancient monuments and archaeological sites while making them tourist-friendly. ‘Adopt A Heritage’ is a solid effort by the Ministry of Tourism to leverage these existing incredible sites while making sure that they are being preserved with responsibility. The vision statement for ‘Adopt A Heritage’ Project, reads as quoted below:
“The Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Archeological Survey of India (ASI), State/ UT Governments and the Private/ Public sector companies/ Trusts/ NGOs/ Individuals, etc. envisages developing amenities at heritage sites, monuments and tourist sites to make them tourist friendly and increase the site’s tourism potential by enhancing the tourist experience in a planned and phased manner.”
The main objectives of the project include:
Developing basic tourism infrastructure in and around heritage sites, monuments and tourist sites.
Develop facilities and amenities to improve the tourist experience at heritage sites, monuments and tourist sites.
Promote cultural and heritage value of the country and develop avenues to create awareness about the heritage sites/tourist sites in the country
Develop and promote sustainable tourism infrastructure and ensure proper Operations and Maintenance therein.
Develop employment opportunities and support livelihoods of local communities at the heritage and tourist sites.
This ambitious project is buttressed by a robust management structure with multiple committees. These will monitor the project process at regular intervals and to ensure corrections in implementation:
Oversight and Vision Committee
Beyond this, the companies that will adopt a particular heritage site will be called ‘Monument Mitras’ - who will be further supported by ‘Project Management Consultants (PMC)’. The Consulting team will be appointed by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ project shall be called the Project Management Consultants (PMC). The PMC shall provide support to the Oversight and Vision Committee, Implementation Committee and Monument Committee.
This project is envisioned to fulfill the objective of the Government of India to provide an enhanced tourism experience to all travelers. It aims at ensuring quality & inclusive provision of amenities and facilities across heritage, natural, & tourist sites through active participation of private and public sector organizations and individuals. These organizations would be known as “Monument Mitras” for their collaboration initiative.
The project plans to entrust development, upgradation and maintenance of amenities and facilities at the heritage, natural & tourist sites to the Monument Mitras, coupled with innovation and technology interventions to increase awareness of these incredible treasures.
The project began with 93 ASI monuments and has extended to heritage, natural and tourist sites across India. These sites are classified into various categories based on visibility and footfall. The 'Monument Mitras' would take up the sites of varied visibility and footfall as a package, based on their viability, and through CSR. They would get visibility on the monument premises and Ministry of Tourism digital platforms for their initiative.
With ‘Adopt A Heritage’ project, Ministry of Tourism has clearly killed two birds with one stone. ProMiller believes the project will come out as a huge success by 2022, in spite of the pandemic slowing things down. As of 2020, 20+ MOUs have been signed between the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and multiple Monument Mitras. You can access complete MOUs signed by each Monument Mitra here. Several ancient sited with phenomenal historic importance have been already adopted by these Monument Mitras:
Adopt A Heritage pragmatically solves the long-standing issue of Indian Heritage sites losing their relevance as the Government struggled to prioritize the task among a plethora of other pressing issues. If executed with diligence, it will not only save the ancient sites from wearing out but it will also boost tourism which indirectly boosts employment. Let’s hope this helps out Indian tourism to revive while ensuring the upkeep of heritage sites at the same time.
To know more about the project, visit the website where important information is published by the Government with utmost transparency.