Asia-Pacific News

Plan to run Taj Mahal privately stirs anger in India

Key Points
  • India's government is charging high fees to allow historical sites to be run by private firms.
  • Firms then recoup their money by marketing and selling tickets.
  • The decision has provoked anger from historians and opposition politicians.
Getty Images | NurPhoto

Historians and opposition politicians have accused the Indian government of trying to privatize historical sites, including the world famous Taj Mahal.

The "Adopt a Heritage" plan aims to allow the upkeep and maintenance of 95 historic sites to be taken over by private firms.

India's tourism ministry has already announced a $3.7 million five-year contract with the Dalmia Bharat conglomerate to run Delhi's 17-century Taj Mahal, according to Agence France-Presse.

In exchange, Dalmia Bharat will be allowed to put up advertising, set ticket prices and earn money from sales.

The chief minister of West Bengal state, Mamata Banerjee, said Saturday that the "Red Fort" should not be "leased out," adding the decision was a "sad and dark day in our history."

Other monuments on the list include the 12th-century Unesco-listed Qutub Minar complex, also in Delhi.

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