Hyderabad: Infrastructure major GMR has come forward to adopt the historic Golconda Fort, Union Tourism and Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy said on Tuesday August 24.
He told reporters that talks are on with GMR in this regard. This would be on the lines of Dalmia Bharat Group adopting the Red Fort under the Union Tourism Ministry’s ‘Adopt a heritage’ scheme. In 2018, Dalmia had won the contract worth Rs 25 crore for five years.
The minister said the works at Red Fort under public private partnership mode will be launched next month.
He said some private companies had come forward to undertake various works at the monuments under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) with CSR funds. The works will include improving facilities for tourists, designing light and sound shows.
Reddy said that the Dalmia company has also come forward to adopt Gandikota in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. The company will carry out development works and run the historic fort but will not make money as it is doing these works to protect the heritage as a service to society, he added.
He said various works for beautification will be taken up at 75 historic monuments across the country as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
He said he felt proud that after he took over as the Tourism and Culture Minister, the Ramappa temple in Mulugu district of Telangana received UNESCO world heritage site status. “It’s a matter of pride that this is the first heritage site in the Telugu states to get the coveted status,” he said.
Reddy said since Ramappa temple would now attract international tourists, his ministry would work with the Telangana government to improve infrastructure in Mulugu. The officials of the ASI and Tourism Ministry will discuss with the state government officials on how to develop Ramappa temple as a key tourism and spiritual destination.
He said out of 3,700 monuments which are under the ASI across the country, Telangana account for only eight monuments. He said this indicate the neglect of heritage in the state and also the injustice done to the state in the past.
Stating that tourism almost came to a standstill for last two years due to Covid-19 pandemic, he hoped that vaccination of majority of people by December this year will help in reviving the sector with new enthusiasm from new year.
He said the Tourism Department would launch a campaign to invite tourists from January 1. “Currently, we are not inviting tourists. Some domestic tourists are visiting the tourism places here and there on their own but we will start inviting tourists from the next year,” he said.
The minister pointed out that tourism’s share in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is 5 per cent and the sector accounts for 9-12 per cent employment in the country. “We need to increase this share and for this the Centre, state governments and all other stakeholders will have to work together,” he said.
Reddy said the Tourism Ministry would also launch ‘Dekho apna desh’ campaign from January 1 to attract tourists. The ministry is working out on the incentives to be given under this campaign, which is aimed at inviting tourists to explore large number of historic monuments, rivers, waterfalls and places of natural beauty across the country.