NDMC defers decision on extension of lease to Taj Mansingh

 New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which was scheduled to take a call on Friday on the extension of the lease of Taj Mansingh hotel till its auctioning, has deferred the decision till March 25.

New Delhi: New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which was scheduled to take a call on Friday on the extension of the lease of Taj Mansingh hotel till its auctioning, has deferred the decision till March 25.

"The Home Ministry recently cleared the decks for auctioning of the hotel and the issue was to be tabled during the Council meeting held today, but it has been deferred till March 25," NDMC Chairman Jalaj Srivastava told PTI.

"It was tabled today but the members decided to defer it till the next meeting," he added.

The property, owned by NDMC, was given to the Tata-backed Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) on lease for 33 years. The lease ended in 2011 and IHCL has since then been given six temporary extensions on various grounds to operate the hotel.

The last extension was given on January 31 as NDMC could not hold an auction due to the Model Code of Conduct for Delhi Assembly elections. The extended lease agreement expires on March 31.

Two years ago, when NDMC had decided to auction the property, IHCL had approached Delhi High Court seeking a stay on the process. However, the company failed to get a stay from the court restraining NDMC from auctioning the hotel.

"The Council had to discuss certain prerequisites before going ahead with the auction. When to go ahead with the process, how many months of extension should be given to them till the process is over and what will be the guidelines for the auction of high-value items, these are among the things which were to be decided today," Srivastava added.

The civic body has planned to invite bid process managers to assist it in the auctioning process after the consultant for the project, Ernst and Young, pulled out three months ago.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who took oath as an ex-officio NDMC member today, presided over the meeting.

Delhi Cantonment MLA Surinder Singh and Secretary of the Directorate of Education, Punya Salila Srivastav, were also sworn-in as Council members.

The NDMC is also scheduled to present its budget for the next financial year on March 25.

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