Massive protests continued in Assam against Centre’s Adopt-a-heritage scheme

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HT Bureau

Guwahati, May 4: The decision of Union government to engage corporate houses for maintenance of tourism infrastructure in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) and Ahom-era monuments in Sivasagar district has angered many organisations, triggering protest in different parts of the state. This comes at a time when the government is being criticised for involving a private company to look after tourist amenities in the 17th century Red Fort.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) vice president and former minister Pradyut Bordoloi on Friday slammed NDA government at the Centre for its new ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme which invites private and public companies, individuals and agencies to adopt the historical monuments and provide basic and advanced amenities and look after the operations.

“We oppose the move of the government. It will pave the way for privatisation of the monuments by giving them to corporate or private entities for operation and maintenance,” Bordoloi told reporters at Rajib Bhawan in Guwahati on Friday.

“We cannot support engagement of private parties for the upkeep of our heritage sites. Our identity is linked with these heritage sites, and BJP government wants to destroy this identity. This is an insult for us,” Bordoloi also said.

On the other hand, representatives of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) staged a dharna at Kohora in Kaziranga National Park (KNP) to register their protest against the Union government’s decision to hand over the Kaziranga National Park to a private under the Adopt-a-Heritage scheme.

Several hundred workers of the farmer organisation took part in the protest. KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi said that the people of the state will not allow any public property, monuments to be handed over to any private entity.

“We will continue our agitation to preserve our properties, monuments. The BJP had promised to protect Jati, Mati and Bheti (community, land and hearth), but they are trying to sell everything. We will not allow it,” Gogoi told reporters.

Protests also continued at Nazira in Sivasagar district and other parts of the state against the Adopt-a-Heritage scheme of the Union government.

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