Press Trust of india

Free entry draws more students to ASI monuments, govt seeks to further boost number

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New Delhi:  The number of students visiting ASI sites after the government made entry free as part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ has increased, and the culture ministry will reach out to schools and colleges to further boost the number, Union minister G Kishan Reddy said.

The Union Culture Ministry recently announced free entry to all Archaeological Survey of India-protected monuments, sites and museums across the country from August 5 to 15, for both domestic and foreign visitors.

“The response of people has been good so far, especially students. For students below 15 years, entry was already free earlier, but more students are coming now, and they are bringing their parents too,” Reddy told PTI.

The Union minister, who also holds the portfolio of tourism, said Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is a start to foster a greater sense of patriotism among people and it should be promoted more.

“We are making efforts that information reaches out to all schools, colleges, and we are endeavouring to talk to their managements, to create an environment as part of this celebration of India,” he said on the sidelines of a recent event.

The minister expected such outreach programmes to help increase the number further.

The culture minister lamented many youths might not be aware about heritage sites in areas near their town or city even though they know about what is happening globally.

Many youths tend to get attracted more towards visiting malls and multiplexes rather than monuments, he said.

“I know, its a bad thing… Many may be knowing what is going on in Singapore and Australia, but they may not be aware that near their village or town there is a historical monument, a prestigious monument,” he said.

However, a lot of progress has happened and awarness has been built, and “through Google we are also going to engage the youth”, Reddy added.

India will celebrate the 75th anniversary of country’s Independence on August 15.           Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2021, will continue till August 15, 2023.

Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements.

The Union Culture Ministry is the nodal agency for these celebrations which would be based in broad themes of freedom struggle, Ideas@75, Resolve@75, Actions@75 and Achievements@75.

Reddy on August 2 had tweeted to announce that the free entry to the ASI sites across the country from August 5-15 was being done as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.

There are a total of 3,693 heritage sites in India protected by the ASI. Many of these are UNECSO World Heritage Sites such as Agra’s Taj Mahal, Delhi’s Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb; and the ruins of ancient Nalanda university in Bihar.    From Lucknow’s historic Residency, which was the focal point of some key events during the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny, to Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace in Porbander, the ASI is gearing up to hoist the national flag at 150 of its monuments on Independence Day, officials said on Saturday.

Besides,150 monuments in total would be lit in a tricolour theme as part of the celebrations. Some of the monuments have already been illuminated.

Prime Minister Modi on Sunday, while charing the third National Committee meeting on Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav here had said, the patriotic fervour witnessed during the freedom struggle needed to be instilled in the current generation and channelised for nation-building.

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