In poll-bound Punjab, Sukhbir’s Sukhvilas opens for business

The luxury facility is managed by the Oberoi group and owned by Metro Eco Green Resorts in which Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and his wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal have majority stakes.

Written by Varinder Bhatia , Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh | Published:December 1, 2016 1:42 am
Punjab polls, sukhbir badal, sukhbir badal villa, sukhvilas, oberoi sukhvilas resort and spa, sukhbir business, sukhvilas buisness, india news, indian express news Sukhbir Badal’s resort near Chandigarh. (Source: Sahil Walia)

A Villa for Rs 5 lakh a night, premium rooms at Rs 35,000 each, a 1-km nature trail to the Siswan forests, and a private approach road. And this is just for starters at The Oberoi Sukhvilas Resort & Spa. Coming soon are eight luxury tents with private swimming pools, all-terrain vehicles and a spa of international standards.

The luxury facility, which opens its doors near Chandigarh Thursday barely two months before the Punjab assembly polls, is managed by the Oberoi group and owned by Metro Eco Green Resorts in which Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal and his wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal have majority stakes.

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The resort, said to be the largest of its kind in the region, comprises 60 rooms, villas, tents with private pools and the mandatory bar and restaurant, surrounded by extensive landscaped gardens.

Last year, the resort was in the headlines for a road that was being constructed at government expense, ostensibly for connecting villages in the area with the six-lane Chandigarh-Kurali highway. That road now stops ahead of Palanpur village, from where a private approach track leads to the resort.

On May 19, 2015, The Indian Express had reported that the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority has begun construction of the 100-feet-wide, 1.3-km government road for an official estimate of Rs 29 crore. This newspaper had also reported that in her statement of assets and liabilities, available on the PMO website, Harsimrat Kaur had listed equity shares in Metro Eco Green Resorts — Rs 81,50,000 against her name and Rs 2,69,42,500 for husband Sukhbir.

The Punjab government had earlier amended the masterplan of Mullanpur to give it a new name — New Chandigarh. That was when the area’s development began, with real estate giants Omaxe and DLF rolling out massive housing and commercial projects. That was also when construction on Sukhvilas began in Palanpur, around 8 km from Chandigarh.

“It was in 2012 that construction of the resort started. But the approach road was too narrow and in bad shape. Now, with the new road taking off from the six-lane highway, it is a straight and smooth entry to the resort,” said Harbhajan Singh, , village.

Village lambardar, Pritam Singh, said that most of the land adjoining the government road was sold to Metro Eco Green Resorts over the last two years. The metalled, private approach road came up over the last few days, he said.

“The land through which this approach road tranverses belonged to the villagers. They sold it to Metro Eco Green Resorts. There are a few like me who have not sold our land. But since there is nothing much to do now on those scattered chunks, we are thinking of selling,” said Pritam Singh.

Resort staff, meanwhile, confirmed that the facility was booked through December. “Out of 60 rooms, 39 are operational as on-date. We are getting a very good response,” said a front office assistant at the resort.

“Another complex comprising eight luxury tents, with private swimming pools, are coming up. A Punjabi-cuisine
restaurant will also come up. We will also have all-terrain vehicles for adventure sport. That part shall be operational in January,” said another resort employee. When contacted, Abraham Maqdoom, manager, Sukhvilas, said, “I do not deal with media queries.”

Silky Sehgal, director, corporate communications, The Oberoi Group, said, “I will not be able to provide any information at this stage.”