Struggling to pull the corporation out of the red for the past many years, the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp has now asked the state’s general administration department to pay back expenses incurred on providing subsidised services to “VIPs” at the state run guest houses in New Delhi and Chandigarh.
According to official data, HPTDC incurred losses of Rs 34.7 crore in fiscal 2013-14.
The national capital’s Himachal Bhawan, located at Mandi House in the heart of the city, is the most favoured lodging destination for government officials including ministers, legislators and bureaucrats. The property once belonged to the raja of Mandi-and was acquired by the Himachal government after independence.
The general administration department, which usually runs the two state guest houses in New Delhi - Himachal Bhawan and the 24-room Himachal Sadan on Mathura Road - owes more than Rs 4.35 crore to HPTDC for providing subsidized services to VIP guests. The department owes about Rs 1.92 crore for food services alone at Himachal Bhawan, which has has 45 rooms, also houses the offices of the Himachal Pradesh press liaison officer and resident commissioner.
“We’ve written to the general administration department asking it to pay the dues that have not been cleared since 2011,” state HPTDC vice-chairman Harish Janartha said.
Burdened with sizable losses for several years, HPTDC had also mooted a proposal to increase the subsidized tariff for the rooms, which currently varies from Rs 100 to Rs 250. Apart from the room tariff, HPTDC also provides food at subsidized rates. The corporation has also proposed to lease one of the floors at Himachal Bhawan.
HPTDC employs 80 people in New Delhi, running up an annual salary bill of nearly Rs 2 crore. A 42-room hotel is being constructed at a cost of Rs 2.7 crore in the tourist hill town of Kasauli.