The government’s decision to involve private parties for the upkeep of three Ahom era monuments in Assam has evoked sharp reactions across the state.

Massive reactions have poured in Assam following the central government’s decision to hand over the Kaziranga National Park and Ahom monuments in Sivasagar — Rang Ghar, Kareng Ghar and the Shiva Doul — to Jungle Travels India, reportedly to develop them.

The Government’s decision has come under flak from various organizations that termed the move “totally unacceptable” and even threatened to launch a vigorous protest against the Narendra Modi government’s decision.

However, with organizations threatening protests, the Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) came out with a quick clarification. ATDC chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah rejected any move to hand over the four heritage sites to private parties for their maintenance.

The ATDC chairman said the entire issue has been misinterpreted and that there is no move to hand over or sell, as has been claimed by some individuals and organizations, any historical monument to a private party for maintenance.

“The entire issue has been misinterpreted. There is no such thing that the heritage sites would be handed over to a private party. Actually, the project named ‘Adopt A Heritage’ plans to entrust heritage sites, monuments and other tourist sites to private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals for development of tourist amenities,” he said, adding that the core areas of the monuments will remain with the Archeological Survey of India and that the private parties will only develop tourist facilities such as cafeterias, tourist centres etc.

He also said private parties will adopt the heritage sites and monuments and develop and maintain tourist facilities within its periphery as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for five years. They will be known as ‘Monument Mitras’, Jayanta Malla said.

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