Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today hinted that government is taking serious note against Oberoi Group, which is diluting state’s share in wildflower Hall. It is being projected as incurring huge losses since its inception and recently state government has sought special audit of its account from CAG to reveal the real picture about its accounts.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has blamed the previous Congress government for succumbing to the pressure of business houses and surrendering the state’s interests. “The previous government has given the hotel to the Oberois for a song. The state is losing a huge revenue that it is supposed to get annually,” he said. He even asked the Oberois to handover the prime property to the state. “We don’t want such investors in the state whose contribution is nil in the form of revenue to the state. We have asked the Comptroller and Auditor General to conduct special audit of the hotel to know the exact losses. It’s something unbelievable that a professional company that is managing the hotel is running into losses. How this is possible? The company is hiding facts,” he said.
Dhumal led government in 2002 scrapped the agreement with the Oberois, pointing out serious irregularities in the construction cost. The Oberois challenged the decision of the government in the Himachal Pradesh High Court, which appointed an arbitrator. Even the arbitrator gave his decision in favour of the government in 2005. The Oberois, who were told to pay Rs.94 crore to the government as rent for a period of 40 years from 1995, again moved the High Court against the decree. “The company is also supposed to provide the government with lease money of Rs.2 crore to Rs.2.5 crore annually,” Dhumal said. Silki Nanda, director corporate communications at Oberois, refused to comment on the controversy.