Shimla: Plans of converting Bantony Castle building in the heart of the city into a luxury hotel by a private entrepreneur has hit a block as the government has moved in to acquire the heritage property.
Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has asked principal secretary urban development to initiate steps for â€˜expeditious acquisition of the renowned Bantony Castle building and land in the heritage zone of Shimla town.â€™
Dhumal asked for ensuring timely action and moving the finance department for necessary funds.
A London based businessman Ranjay Trehan along with a local partner Arun Kumar Sood had moved an application before the tourism department for converting the 138 year old heritage structure into a spa.
The promoters have sought a no objection certificate under section 118 of HP Land Tenancy and Reforms Act, 1972 for undertaking the venture.
The proposed investment was Rs 150 crore on the about 2000 sq meter property that is in the city business center on The Mall Road.
Before it was bought by a local businessman, the property was the summer palace of the Maharaja of Sirmaur. Prior to the palace coming up in 1880, the property belonged to on Caption Gorden.
Earlier the building was in the government possession and used to house the director general police office. It had to be vacated on court orders.