Mysuru: The majestic Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel run by the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) will soon be handed over to the State Government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who chaired the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs meeting yesterday at New Delhi, gave his approval for the transfer.
ITDC informed that the company has inked pact for transfer of Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel, Mysuru, to Government of Karnataka. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been executed for the transfer, it said.
A release stated that the decision has been taken as per the disinvestment policy of the Government of India. According to Minister for Tourism Priyank Kharge, the State Government was in talks with the Centre for over a year. The upkeep of the hotel was left a lot to be desired and hence the government did not agree for a Rs. 22 crore handover as a lot of the criteria was not met. Hence, it was decided to take it back.
The State will be paying Rs. 7.45 crore to the Centre for the handover. After signing of the MoU, the hotel will become the property of Karnataka Tourism Dept. and it can be converted into a heritage hotel, said Kharge.
Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar had started the hotel in 1931 to treat his guests including the Viceroy. Once the last Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar signed the instrument of accession, it was transferred to the Govt. It was maintained as a guest house and was out of bounds to the public for a long time.
The place was a popular film shooting spot and many iconic figures including Presidents of the country, famous film stars like Rajnikant, Amitabh Bachchan, Hollywood stars and politicians have stayed here in the most opulent suites.
It may be recalled that the lease period of the hotel, which was with the ITDC would expire only in 2023. However, because of the decision of the Narendra Modi Government, the process to handover has been hastened.
CANNOT SELL THE PROPERTY: As Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel comes under heritage structure, the Govt. cannot sell it but can only hand over the management to a private party. Speaking to Star of Mysore, Dy. Director of Archaeology, Heritage and Museums Gavisiddaiah said that the hotel, owned by the Public Works Department, is only run by the ITDC for a particular period. Archaeology Department has no say in the ownership or maintenance.
DC D. Randeep too had said that the property belonged to the State Government and nobody can sell it.