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Core area of KNP, 3 monuments out of ambit

By STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, May 2 - Clarifying that the core area of the Kaziranga National Park or the historical monuments of Sivasagar would remain untouched under the �Adopt a Heritage� scheme of the Union government, the Assam Tourism Development Corporation today said that the project only had plans of tie-up with public or private parties for developing tourist-friendly amenities around the tourist destinations, and did not have anything to do with �handing over� the entire site as was being projected.

After sharp reactions coming from different quarters about giving the heritage sites to private parties for maintenance, ATDC chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah and Regional Director of India Tourism Shoeb Samad said here that the project only envisages linking the CSR activities for facilities like cleanliness, public toilets, drinking water, tourist information centre, etc., in the surroundings of the tourist sites without touching the actual site in any way.

Regarding handing over Assam�s Kaziranga and Ahom-era monuments Siva Doul, Rang Ghar and Kareng Ghar to the State-based tour and hospitality company Jungle Travels India, they said that the expression of interest (EoI) has been submitted by the company for all the four sites, but nothing has been finalized till date.

�As per the process, the EoI has to be followed by a vision bidding that requires detailed proposals from the bidders, including operation and maintenance framework. The proposals would be scrutinized by the expert committees keeping in mind the nature of the monuments as well as the existing laws governing those monuments,� the ATDC chairman said.

Though the JTI has submitted its EoI, the process of vision bidding and signing of MoU is yet to be done before allowing them to build amenities. As per the scheme, the private parties or PSUs involved in the projects would have the advantage of advertising their brands and get a good visibility at the tourist sites.

�Private/public entities and even individuals can opt for becoming a Monument Mitra and help in developing certain amenities around the popular as well as neglected tourist sites. Only after thorough analysis of the project, the bidders would be allowed to develop the basic amenities at the site for the first five years,� added Samad.

It may be noted that the project also has the provision to extend the contract beyond five years for developing advanced amenities like cafeteria, surveillance system, tourist facilitation centre, illumination, etc., around the sites.

IANS adds: Public protests were held in Assam today over the Centre�s decision to involve the private sector in the maintenance of public amenities at the State�s four sites.

The Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad held a protest demonstration at Nagaon. Its supporters also burnt effigies of the Assam government and shouted slogans against the move.

The All Tai Ahom Students Union threatened to launch a statewide movement against the decision, whereas the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti also warned against the �privatisation of the historical sites.�

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, also condemned the move, terming the step part of a ploy by the BJP to destroy the Assamese identity by targeting national self-respect, national consciousness and national pride.

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Core area of KNP, 3 monuments out of ambit

GUWAHATI, May 2 - Clarifying that the core area of the Kaziranga National Park or the historical monuments of Sivasagar would remain untouched under the �Adopt a Heritage� scheme of the Union government, the Assam Tourism Development Corporation today said that the project only had plans of tie-up with public or private parties for developing tourist-friendly amenities around the tourist destinations, and did not have anything to do with �handing over� the entire site as was being projected.

After sharp reactions coming from different quarters about giving the heritage sites to private parties for maintenance, ATDC chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah and Regional Director of India Tourism Shoeb Samad said here that the project only envisages linking the CSR activities for facilities like cleanliness, public toilets, drinking water, tourist information centre, etc., in the surroundings of the tourist sites without touching the actual site in any way.

Regarding handing over Assam�s Kaziranga and Ahom-era monuments Siva Doul, Rang Ghar and Kareng Ghar to the State-based tour and hospitality company Jungle Travels India, they said that the expression of interest (EoI) has been submitted by the company for all the four sites, but nothing has been finalized till date.

�As per the process, the EoI has to be followed by a vision bidding that requires detailed proposals from the bidders, including operation and maintenance framework. The proposals would be scrutinized by the expert committees keeping in mind the nature of the monuments as well as the existing laws governing those monuments,� the ATDC chairman said.

Though the JTI has submitted its EoI, the process of vision bidding and signing of MoU is yet to be done before allowing them to build amenities. As per the scheme, the private parties or PSUs involved in the projects would have the advantage of advertising their brands and get a good visibility at the tourist sites.

�Private/public entities and even individuals can opt for becoming a Monument Mitra and help in developing certain amenities around the popular as well as neglected tourist sites. Only after thorough analysis of the project, the bidders would be allowed to develop the basic amenities at the site for the first five years,� added Samad.

It may be noted that the project also has the provision to extend the contract beyond five years for developing advanced amenities like cafeteria, surveillance system, tourist facilitation centre, illumination, etc., around the sites.

IANS adds: Public protests were held in Assam today over the Centre�s decision to involve the private sector in the maintenance of public amenities at the State�s four sites.

The Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad held a protest demonstration at Nagaon. Its supporters also burnt effigies of the Assam government and shouted slogans against the move.

The All Tai Ahom Students Union threatened to launch a statewide movement against the decision, whereas the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti also warned against the �privatisation of the historical sites.�

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, also condemned the move, terming the step part of a ploy by the BJP to destroy the Assamese identity by targeting national self-respect, national consciousness and national pride.

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