PATIALA SEPTEMBER 21 : Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal inaugurated “The Baradari Palace”, a heritage hotel of the Neemrana Group of Hotels located in the pristine surroundings of the Baradari Gardens, at a simple ceremony here today. The project is a collaborative effort of the Department of Tourism, Punjab and the internationally acclaimed Neemrana Group of Hotels to restore the over-a-century old Rajindra Kothi through Public-Private Partnership.
While interacting with the proprietors of the Neemrana Group and officers of the tourism department about this prestigious heritage hotel first of its kind in the state, the Chief Minister congratulated the Neemrana Group for converting the old Government property into a top-class heritage hotel. He stated that the Government would consider restoring other heritage properties using the same Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, wherever feasible. In order to promote the growth of tourism in Punjab, it was far more important to create an excellent infrastructure and that too in terms of high quality heritage and budget hotels in the State. “Punjab has a rich cultural heritage and the State Government is committed to preserve and promote the Punjabi culture in every way”, said Mr. Badal.
Mr. Badal said that Punjab had a tremendous tourism potential which needed to be harnessed for the development of its economy as well as promotion of its cultural heritage. He said that the State Government was working with UN World Tourism Organization to come up with an attractive tourism policy in order to attract greater private investment in the sector.
On the occasion, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Hira Singh Gabria informed the Chief Minister that the Rajindra Kothi was a property dating back to late 19th century and had been used to house the States Archives and over time parts of it had been rendered unsafe. Therefore, in order to revitalize it and to provide a good-quality heritage hotel facility to tourists visiting Patiala, the premises has been re-developed into a Heritage Hotel. For this purpose, a 30 years lease agreement had been signed with the Neemrana Groups of Hotels on a profit-sharing basis for the 4.65 acres property. Apart from the lease rental, the lessee will pay 5% of the gross revenue generated in this hotel to the Government. To ensure transparency in this, the entire revenue generated will be credited into an Escrow account and 5% of the gross revenue will be apportioned to the Punjab Govt. The scope of work of the lessee included the restoration, conservation and maintenance of the Heritage Building as per the guidelines/specifications prescribed by INTACH.
Chairman Francis Wacziarg and Co-Chaiman Aman Nath of Neemrana Group of Heritage Hotels mentioned that at present the Baradari Palace has 17 suites and rooms along with a Restaurant and Conference facilities. These have been created at an investment of about Rs 4 crores. More facilities like a Cafeteria, Bar, Swimming pool and various other facilities, which any top-class hotel provided were slated to be added shortly. “We are proud of having been associated with Punjab’s first heritage hotel involving major restoration work and this would go a long way in promoting Punjab as a tourist destination. We would specially like to acknowledge the positive role played by the Punjab Government and the local administration in making this possible”, said Mr. Francis Wacziarg.
Among the prominent persons who were present on the occasion were Chief Parliamentary Secretary Raj Khurana, General Secretary SAD Prem Singh Chandumajra, Shiromani Akali Dal leaders Surjit Singh Rakhra, Surjit Singh Kohli and Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpura, Principal Secretary Tourism Geetika Kalha, Secretary Tourism DP Reddy, Commissioner SK Ahluwalia, DC Vikas Garg and Mayor Ajit Pal Singh Kohli.