HP Govt takes possession of Hotel Wildflower hall from Oberoi Group
Shimla, Nov 18
The Himachal Pradesh Government, after winning a legal battle against the International Hospitality Oberoi Group, has taken possession of the more than 500 crore worth, five-star property Wildflower Hall at Charabra, situated on the outskirts of this capital town. A top functionary in the government stated that they took possession of the Wildflower Hall hotel in Charabra, Shimla, on Saturday and returned the property to Himachal tourism.
According to the latest information, HPTDC Director Mansi Sahay has been posted as the administrator of this property, and AGM Anil Taneja has been posted as OSD. Early this morning, HPTDC and district administration teams rushed to Charabra with a heavy police force. This created panic among the Oberoi management and staff. The government has taken possession of this property worth crores following High Court orders.
Even in August 2022, the Himachal High Court upheld the government’s decision to take back this property from the Oberoi Group. The court also clarified that the State government has full authority to take back the property from the Oberoi Group and East India Hotel Company. The company has absolutely no right to accept the beneficial terms in the agreement and ignore those which are causing losses.
Also read: Wildflower hall law suit: Major set back to Oberoi group as HP HC dismisses decades old litigation
Oberoi also challenged the arbitration award of this property in the Supreme Court, which was upheld by the apex court and slapped a penalty on the International Hospitality unit amounting to crores.
The former residence of Lord Kitchener, the former Commander of the British Army, Wild Flower Hall is currently a 5-star resort that offers the ambiance of a grand stately home. In 1909, after Lord Kitchener returned to England, Wild Flower Hall was sold to Robert Hotz and his wife.
In 1925, after demolishing the old house, Hotz built a fine three-story hotel. After independence, the hotel was taken over by the Government of India and given to the Himachal Government to run an Agricultural University. Later, it was taken over by Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) in 1973, which operated until 1993. It was due to an electrical short circuit that a fire reduced the wooden hotel to ashes on April 5, 1993.
Pertinent to mention that on November 14, the Chairman of the Oberoi group Prithvi Raj Singh Oberoi aka ‘Biki’, the doyen of Indian hospitality passed away.
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