EVEN AFTER taking over possession of Baithak, a Punjabi-styled restaurant, at Kalagram, the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) has no concrete plans for making it functional. The restaurant has been lying non-functional for nearly one year. The corporation took over possession of the restaurant on October 1 from a private firm after terminating the contract. It was given on lease for a period of seven years on a monthly licence fee of Rs 6.05 lakh. However, the firm failed to run its operations.
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CITCO chief general manager (CGM) Navjot Kaur said they were yet to decide whether to give Baithak on lease or to run it themselves. “As of now, we have not decided anything,” said the CGM.
The private firm struggled to run Baithak after taking over on November 2 last year, and it remained closed for the general public. Not being used for long, the entire premises — banquet hall with an adjoining lawn area and kitchen on the ground floor; a restaurant with kitchen and open terrace on the first floor; and bar, open courtyard, party hall, etc on ground floor — is in a shambles.
The premises are unkempt with litter strewn all over the place. The straw huts made to give the place an ethnic look are without roof. The building also needs urgent paint and repair. The administration has announced plans for holding National Crafts Mela at Kalagram from November 4 to 13 in the adjoining ground.
After the restaurant was taken over by the private firm, the corporation took out all the furniture, air conditioners and kitchen equipment. Some of the items were auctioned while the remaining were reused in the other units of the corporation.
For running the restaurant on its own, the corporation will have to spend around Rs 2 crore on renovation and purchase of furniture, ACs and other equipment.
CGM Kaur admitted that the corporation would have to invest a huge sum for running the place on its own.
For the past few years, CITCO has been struggling with dwindling profits. In the first four months of the current financial year, CITCO witnessed over 21 per cent fall in turnover.
As per the performance report, the turnover at Rs 147,19 crore is about 21.31 per cent lower than the turnover of Rs 187.04 crore achieved in the corresponding period last year. The decrease of over Rs 39 crore has been due to a drop in sales of its hotels and industrial units.