UT mulls giving CITCO hotels to private playershttps://indianexpress.com/article/chandigarh/ut-mulls-giving-citco-hotels-to-private-players-5843365/

UT mulls giving CITCO hotels to private players

Once privatisation of these hotels is done, one of the key losers will be the government officials who have been enjoying discounts at these hotels.

Hotel Shivalikview is a four-star hotel in Sector 17. Express Archives

Following a communiqué by the Government of India to monetize the government buildings, the UT Administration is considering giving hotels Mountview, Shivalikview and Parkview, all run by the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation Limited (CITCO), to private companies.

A meeting in this regard will be held soon. Hotel Mountview is a five-star hotel in Sector 10, Chandigarh, while Hotel Shivalikview is a four-star hotel in Sector 17. Hotel Parkview is a three-star hotel run by CITCO in Sector 24, Chandigarh.

Once privatisation of these hotels is done, one of the key losers will be the government officials who have been enjoying discounts at these hotels.

When contacted, UT Advisor Manoj Parida said that if it is done, no one will lose his job.

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“Nothing is finalised as yet. We got proposals to monetize stadium and sports complexes. But we have conveyed (to the Centre) that is not possible because it promotes sports talent with low fee. As regards hotels, it is the business of government to stay out of business.”

He added, “In my personal opinion, government cannot and should not run hotels.” The Advisor said that “if some monetization is done, land and building ownership will stay with administration only”.

“Land and building ownership will stay with UT Administration only, if at all it is done. Management contract can be given on an outsourced basis. Moreover, all stakeholders will be consulted and no one will lose his job. We may do it in phases or even in portions like restaurants first,” he added.

Sources said that the matter will also be put before the UT Advisory Council for discussion and all stakeholders will be called.

Sometime back, an attempt was made to privatise the Chinese restaurant at Mountview hotel. The reserve price was kept around Rs 4.5 lakh a month. But there were no takers. The CITCO authorities have now decided to float tenders all over again.

In the CITCO board meetings in the past, its outlets and restaurants going into losses has often been part of the discussion.

A discotheque has also been planned in the basement of Shivalikview and tenders for running it will soon be floated. Different eventualities have been chalked out and the basement is planned to house a night club. This was decided to attract more people towards the CITCO hotels.

Key losers would be babus enjoying discount

If privatisation is done, one of the key losers in this project will be government officials who are offered discounts on not only food and beverages but also on room rent.

Details of records last year had revealed how around 100 former members of the CITCO’s board of directors kept enjoying 40 per cent of discount on food, beverages and room rent at its hotels — Mountview, Shivalikview and Parkview. This was being done on the basis of privilege cards, the practice of which has been continuing since 1995.

So much so even government officials who are not associated with CITCO anymore and non-official members whose term got expired also got a lifelong concession of 40 per cent. Officers of the rank of general manager, who used to enjoy 50 per cent discount on a par with the board of directors till 2008, enjoy 40 per cent discount, but not after retirement.

There are eight members in the board of directors. The UT home secretary heads the board and other members include UT finance secretary, deputy commissioner, tourism director and CITCO managing director. The non-official members are presidents of the Industry Association of Chandigarh, Confederation of Indian Industry Council and Hotels and Restaurant Association of Northern India.

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UT rejects proposal on sports stadiums

The UT Administration has also got a communiqué from the government to monetize sports stadiums in the city as well but it has conveyed to the Centre that it will not be possible. It was decided because sports stadiums offer facilities to residents on a nominal charge.