Dhumal blames Congress for Hotel Wildflower Hall Fiasco

Shimla: Under fire for suspect land deals, chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal hit back at congress saying while the opposition was leveling unsubstantiated allegations but the case of Hotel Wildflower Hall was one where state interests had been sold out for a song.

Talking to the media, the chief minister said that not satisfied with the accounting systems of Mashobra Resorts, a joint venture between HP government and the Oberoi group company East India Hotels (EIH), a special audit by Comptroller and Auditor General had been sought by his government.

He pointed out that there were serious inconsistencies in the way the project costs had been escalated from the approved Rs 40 crore to the final expenditure of about Rs 100 crore.

“In violation of the agreement, several contracts for constructing the hotel were let out to sister companies of Oberoi group, which ended up more than doubling the project cost. We have asked for a CAG special audit on all these aspects,” he said.

Blaming the then congress government which had entered into an agreement 1995 for resurrecting the heritage hotel after it was burnt down in 1993; he said that it was a known case that was in court where the state was fighting to protecting its interests.

Responding to an opposition charge about land sale to private universities, Dhumal said that better institutions of higher education were needed to empower the youth but no government land had been given for setting up any private university.

He said the government intended to invite offers for opening private universities in Kullu, Mandi, Bilaspur and Chamba districts. No government land has been offered and the institution would have to buy private land for the purpose. Symbiosis, a known name in education had shown interest to open an university in Mandi.

The congress was only resorting to a malicious whispering campaign about shady land deals, said Dhumal adding, “where as the government has been transparent and asked the opposition to point out specific cases where state land laws had been violated but they have failed to do so.

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