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Cabinet approval to be sought for monetisation of operation and management of Ashok Hotel in 2-3 weeks

Wednesday, September 22, 2021, 17:00 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

According to TOI, the Tourism ministry will seek the cabinet’s approval for monetisation of the operation and management of the iconic Ashok Hotel in the capital in the next 2-3 weeks.

It has also been decided that Hotel Samrat will not be part of any monetisation plans due to its strategic location, sources said.
These issues were discussed as part of the two-day review of the asset monetisation plan, undertaken by cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba earlier this month. The target under asset monetisation for the ministry of housing and urban development and the tourism ministry for FY22 has been set at INR 7,500 crore and the two ministries are confident of achieving it.

The Centre hopes to raise INR 88,000 crore in the fiscal year 2021-22. Along with privatisation of state-run enterprises, asset monetisation is a major policy thrust of the government to raise resources and help the economic recovery underway.

The ministry of Sports, which has a target of INR 1,650 crore for this year has said that the appointment of the transaction adviser for the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the national capital would be stepped up and the bid process is expected to start by March 2022. The Indira Gandhi Stadium, along with two regional centres at Zirakpur and Bangalore have also been identified for the asset monetisation plan.

Sources said that government think tank Niti Aayog had raised concerns that the potential to monetise the Indira Gandhi stadium may be limited due to its location near the Yamuna riverbed and some historical monuments in the area. However, the Sports ministry officials said these concerns would be fully addressed during the transaction process.
The Tourism ministry representatives that proposal linked to the ITDC properties in Puducherry and Bhubaneshwar were being restructured after consultations with investors earlier this year.

Several attempts have been made in the past to sell Ashok Hotel run by the ITDC but the plans had to be abandoned due to a string of factors including labour issues, dues and past contracts that the iconic hotel in the heart of the diplomatic area in New Delhi had signed. The disinvestment department under the then minister Arun Shourie in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government had tried to sell the property as part of its wider policy to get out of the business of running hotels. But he had to abandon the plans.

Niti Aayog had earlier proposed offering the hotel, set up in 1956, on a 60-year lease while the adjoining Samrat Hotel would be retained due to security considerations as it overlooks the prime minister’s residence complex on Lok Kalyan Marg.

The Centre has unveiled a INR 6 lakh crore asset monetisation plan over the next four years. Assets which have been identified include roads, power transmission and generation, gas pipelines, warehousing, Railways, Telecom, 25 airports, 31 projects in 9 major ports, coal and mineral mining, sports stadia, redevelopment of colonies. Only brownfield assets will be considered and land has been left out.

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