The government-owned India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) has decided to exit several loss-making hotels under its Ashoka umbrella.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the first phase of the disinvestment exercise, approving offloading of stakes in Hotel Lake View Ashok, Bhopal, Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, Guwahati, and Hotel Bharatpur Ashok, Bharatpur.
In the case of Bhopal and Guwahati, ITDC will divest 51% in the joint venture company formed for the operation of the two hotels. However, the hotel at Bharatpur, which was managed completely by the ITDC, will be returned to the state government, an official statement said.
Announcing the decision, finance minister Arun Jaitley said the Assam government could consider developing the Guwahati property as a guest house as there are many private hotels in the state capital.
As part of the disinvestment policy, the hotels will either be leased or sub-leased jointly with the state governments concerned or they will be returned to the states after fair valuation. “The states would then have the option to upgrade and operate the hotels by involving the private sector or to utilise the properties as per their requirements,” the statement said.
“The decision will be taken only in consultation with the state governments. We are absolutely open to the idea (of state governments picking stake) as long as we get our dues… a few state governments have shown interest,” a senior government official told Hindustan Times.
Barring its Ashok and Samrat hotels in Delhi, ITDC will eventually divest stake in all hotels it runs. “These were low-hanging fruits and government was planning to divest stake in them,” the official added. ITDC at present has 16 hotels under its umbrella.