Tribune News Service
Mumbai, July 26
Several iconic monuments in Maharashtra— including forts belonging to Maratha icon Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the Gateway of India in Mumbai and several temples—are drawing interest from corporate houses that are looking to adopt them.
Interest from corporate houses increased after the Devendra Fadnavis government tweaked the ‘Maharashtra Vaibhav State Protected Monuments Adoption Scheme (MVSPMAS)’ that was enacted around 13 years ago.
“We have now made it easier for companies to deploy funds under their corporate social responsibility scheme for the purpose. Sponsors can also generate revenue by selling the rights to feature these monuments in advertisements and commercials. They can also sell tickets and charge tourists for the use of facilities," says an official from the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums.
Officials say in Mumbai alone, the Gateway of India and the Banganga tank and temple complex in South Mumbai have drawn interest from corporate houses who are sprucing up the area and building facilities like toilets.
According to sources several companies including the Tata group, the RPG group and the JSW group have shown interest in developing these heritage sites.
As many as 371 sites across Maharashtra have been identified under the MVSPMAS. On the outskirts of Mumbai, the ruins of the Ghodbunder Fort which was fought over by the Mughals, the Marathas, the Portuguese and the British will be spruced up by a corporate entity on behalf of the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation which has adopted the fort, according to officials.
“There are some 14 forts in and around Mumbai alone which can be adopted by corporate houses and used for tourism and shooting of films and product advertisements,” said an officials. Several caves dating back to the Buddhist-era which have been neglected for years will also get a face-lift.
Sources say the Maharashtra government has completed the conservation of the Naldurg fort in Osmanabad district which was adopted by a construction company in Solapur.
The developments come even as the central government's decision to allow the Dalmia Bharat group to adopt the Red Fort received severe criticism.
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