The Rajasthan government is planning to switch over to the public-private partnership (PPP) mode for the operation and maintenance of RTDC (Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation) hotels, rest houses and forts, officials said.
While in the opposition, the Congress had protested against privatisation of government-owned heritage and RTDC hotels in the state assembly and outside.
After reviewing old projects at a meeting, the chief secretary directed the departments concerned to initiate the process for small- and medium-size PPP projects, such as operation and maintenance of forts, RTDC hotels and rest houses, maintenance of eco-tourism parks, amusements parks, and beautification of heritage sites and lake resorts.
The tourism department has been asked to formulate a policy soon on Khasa Kothi in Jaipur and Anand Bhawan in Udaipur.
The previous BJP government intended to lease out the two properties for operation and maintenance for a period of 30 years. It had conducted a study by the School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal to ensure that the heritage values of the properties were not tampered with.
The plan was kept on the hold after protests by the Congress, then in the opposition, in the assembly and outside.
After holding meetings in January, state tourism minister Vishwendra Singh had constituted a joint committee of RTDC officials and members of the employees’ unions to identify properties running in losses and those required to be upgraded.
RTDC has around 75 properties across the state, of which at present 30 are functional.
The previous government had closed 15 properties; 26 had been closed since 1993-94. Till 2017, RTDC was under a debt of Rs 154 crore.
“I have not seen the minutes of the meeting (held by the chief secretary), but we need to upgrade and lease out some properties after building a consensus with employees’ unions and tourism department. We need to involve experts to study which properties should be run and which are not profitable,” Singh said.
RTDC employees’ association president Tej Singh Rathore said the government had assured providing financial assistance to hotels, instead of handing them over to PPP mode.
“RTDC hotels were not in losses. We will put up the issue before the government. What is the reason for considering giving hotels to public-private partnership? If the hotels are privatised, then how the government plans to promote tourism in Rajasthan?” Rathore asked.
Rathore said the committee was constituted by the tourism minister but no meeting has taken place till date.
“The hotels should be upgraded and renovated, and given financial assistance like the Madhya Pradesh government has done,” the association president said.
May 27, 2019 14:26 IST
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