NDMC awaits decision on auction of Taj Mansingh

Tata-owned Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) is likely to get an extension of three months to operate the Taj Mansingh Hotel in posh Lutyens’ Bungalow Zone here after its lease expires next month.

The IHCL has been running the landmark property for the past 35 years and its lease is due to expire on October 10.

The New Delhi Municipal Council, which owns the property located in the heart of Delhi on Mansingh Road, is yet to come to any conclusion on auctioning the hotel as it is waiting for the Solicitor-General’s opinion. The NDMC had sought the opinion of the Solicitor-General after a nod from the Home Ministry earlier this month.

The NDMC officials said the civic body is likely to extend the lease with the IHCL for operating the hotel for at least three months as it cannot reach a decision on the issue until it gets the opinion of the Solicitor-General.

The decision to grant the three months’ extension is likely to be taken during the next council meeting to be held on October 7.

“The election code of conduct for the Assembly polls in Delhi is likely to be in place in a few days and it will become difficult to auction the property during that time,” an official said.

However, according to NDMC chairperson Jalaj Srivastava, the agency can approach the Election Commission for a “special permission” to auction the property in that case. “If the agency gets the Solicitor-General’s opinion during the time when the code of conduct is in place, we can seek special permission from the Election Commission to allow us to auction the hotel,” Mr. Srivastava said.

The hotel has been in news since its lease ended in October, 2011. The property, constructed by the NDMC, was given to the Indian Hotels Company Limited in 1978 on lease for 33 years. When the lease came to an end in 2011 and the NDMC was about to renew it, the Urban Development Ministry intervened and asked it to auction the property.

As time was running out, the NDMC gave a year’s extension to IHCL. While the company expected the lease to be renewed in October 2012, the process was stalled temporarily as NDMC could not take a final call. The agency had then decided to give one-year extension to the Tatas.

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