Opposing the lease of Centaur Lakeview Hotel on the banks of the Dal Lake to a Mumbai-based company, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has asked the J&K government to either take over the hotel or restrict the bidding to entrepreneurs from the state.

“KCCI believes that the Centaur Hotel, if the HCI is keen to sell it, should be taken over by the Tourism Ministry of the State government,” the chamber said in a statement here today.

The KCCI said in case the state government was not interested, it should make its decision public.

“In that case, it must be open to bids by State subjects (permanent residents) only. There are many companies in Kashmir’s hospitality sector which have the capability, both professionally and financially, to own and run this hotel and they are keen to take over the property if it is on sale,” it said.

The KCCI has already conveyed its concerns to the government over the deal and believes “the deal is illegal, because it can not take place unless the government is on board.”

The KCCI warned State policymakers to stop this deal at the earliest.

“If it fails, the chamber will be forced to take the case to the people. This is nothing new we are going to do. Last time, we objected and stalled a plan of leasing out part of the Gulmarg to outsiders for setting up infrastructure and managing it,” it added.

The KCCI claimed that the deal to lease out the prime property, worth hundreds of crores, for a measely sum of Rs 30 crore was signed in September, “apparently taking undue advantage of the prevailing situation when entire Kashmir was under curfew”.