State government today moved ahead swiftly to take over the prime property and Historic Bantony Castle situated on the Mall road, Shimla as Section 4 notice was served to party. The Language, Art and Culture department wants to convert it into a museum.
Confirming the development director of state Language, Art and Culture Department D.K. Gupta said that proceeding of acquiring the property had been started ten days back.
In another development, a bill of Section 4 notice was stick out in the premises this afternoon but it was later found disappeared from the wall where it was pasted by the government official.
The key property fall on the way to the Kalibari shrine, the famous Mall Road which was earlier the South Range Police headquarters. The state government would now acquire these prime 5.5 bighas of land and build a structure in public interest.
Sources said that owner of this property are M/s Lahnumal Thakur Dass and sons etc. hailed from Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh had fought long legal battle with the state home department to retain or vacate it from the police department after wining case in the court, the possession had been handed over to the owner about six to seven years back.
The Castle owners have opposed the acquisition attempts by the government thrice in the past and are likely to challenge the decision again, sources said. The structure, once a fine piece of imperial architecture, is now lying in total dilapidated condition.
The property stretched from Lala Lajpatrai Chowk, Grand Hotel, Lakkar Bazar road, old employment office and CTO fall in the heart of this capital town to be of billion dollars deal to be paid by the state government in the interest of public.
A great hue and cry was made during the previous BJP government when a London-based NRI had planned to buy this heritage property to convert it into a hotel or a spa. The move was opposed by the CPI (M) and the Congress. Now BJP in opposition is silent over this issue.