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Oberoi Groups of hotels seeks Court direction for possession of land

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 28 (UNI) Filing a petition in the Delhi High Court, the Oberoi Group of Hotels has sought direction to the Government to hand over the possession of a piece of land in South Delhi for which it had paid Rs 4.61 crore in 1995 for construction of a budget hotel in the Capital.

Appearing for the Eastern India Hotels (EIH), the parent company of the Oberoi Group, senior counsel Dushyant Dave, said that the inaction on the part of the government in failing to execute the agreement was ''arbitrary and violated the company's right to freedom of trade and occupation''.

The impugned inaction was against public interest as the shortage of hotel rooms in the Capital hampered promotion of tourism besides Bfailing to cater to the needs of local people and foreign tourists, the EIH said.

Further, the decision of the authorities deprived it of the revenue which it would have earned in foreign exchange, the counsel said.

According to Mr Dave, despite paying an amount of Rs 4.61 crore to the Land&Development Office (L&DO) under the Ministry of Urban Development towards license fee, the EIH had waited for the last 6 years for execution of the license agreement and had suffered irreparable financial and business loss.

Justice Vikramajit Sen has asked the authorities to file a reply to the petition by the next date of hearing on April 20.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court had issued notice and granted stay against the dispossession of land and had restrained the L&DO from auctioning the property.

The EIH had moved the court seeking execution of the license deed by the government and quashing of the impugned order canceling the allotment of the land.

According to the EIH, the L&DO had allotted a land measuring 2.76 acres adjacent to its Hotel The Oberoi on Dr Zakir Hussain Marg, New Delhi, in February 1981 for construction of a 250-room (3-star category) hotel for Asian Games held in 1982.

However, the allotment was withdrawn and the land was allotted to Delhi Transport and Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (DTTDC) as the EIH had expressed its inability to commission the hotel within the stipulated time, according to the petition filed through Counsel Ravi Sikri.

The petition stated that since no steps were taken for over 8 years by the DTTDC to construct the budget hotel, the department of tourism and DTTDC had invited global bids for construction and operation of the hotel.

According to it, the DTTDC had issued letter for building and running of the hotel for 33 years in July 1992 to the EIH after evaluating 13 global bids. However, the EIH had offered an annual license fee of 11 per cent of the gross turnover subject to annual minimum guarantee to the DTTDC and the land was handed over to the company in 1992, it said.

UNI PAT PK GC2010

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