Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has informed that the Taj Vivanta (Crowborough Hotel) will tentatively be inaugurated on October 14.
Informing the same on September 26, the Chief Minister said that a team from the Taj which inspected the facility have made some more observations.
“They require another five to ten days more to add to the requirement that the Taj group has asked for,” Sangma said
Sangma said that he has spoken to the Managing Director of the Taj Group Puneet Chatwal and they have tentatively fixed the date for October 14.
“Once the entire set up is ready as per their requirements, five-10 days after the Durga Puja we will be inaugurating it on October 14.”
It may be mentioned that the construction work of the hotel which is a government project began on March 10, 1987. The project was initially awarded to M/s SA Builders at a total estimated cost of Rs 2.6 crore. And the firm was given 20 months time to complete the hotel from the date of project allotment.
The firm failed to complete the building within the stipulated time frame leading to the agreement being cancelled. It was handed to another firm M/s Astra Construction Ltd on June 1989 with the Government agreeing to pay Rs. 2.65 crore for the construction.
This firm was given a deadline of 15 months to complete the project, but this firm too failed to meet the deadline and the agreement was cancelled again. Then, began the long duration of litigations, as both the firms approached the Court against the Government’s decision to cancel their agreement. The Government and the two firms went for an out-of-court settlement and M/s S A Builders was given a compensation of Rs 1.94 crore and M/s Astra Construction Ltd. Rs. 1.3 crore by the Government.
After completion of the required procedures and bidding process, the agreement was executed with Lessly Shylla.
(From the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (Report 1 of 2021) Audit Report for the year ended March 31, 2019 on Social and Economic Sectors)
The Crowborough Hotel project is for providing luxury accommodation to high end tourists under PPP mode continued to be non-operational though it was to be completed by August 2014.
Mentioned was made in the reports of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India for the years 2005-06 and 2013-14 respectively regarding abnormal delay in completion of a proposed three-star, Hotel Crowborough in the heart of the city in Shillong, by MTDC although the project was to be completed by November 1988.
After settlement of disputes, the Government decided to complete the building on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode and awarded the lease to one Lessly Shylla on a ‘build, operate and transfer’ basis (May 2008) for 33 years at an annual lease rent of Rs 1.73 crore subject to escalation a block of every three years.
The proposed hotel was to be a five-star hotel have 104 rooms and amenities such as a restaurant, coffee shop, bar, disco, banquet hall, beauty parlour, health club with sauna and a shopping arcade and a state-of-the-art convention centre.
Scrutiny revealed that the lessee was to complete the project by August 2014 but had not completed the same (July 2019). MTDC desired (July 2016) to terminate the lease and the matter was referred (July 2016) to the Arbitrators, who further granted (September 2017) an extension of three years (September 2020).
“Thus, the project which was to be completed by November 1988, remained incomplete even after 31 years of its initial proposed date of completion and the objective of MTDC to provide luxurious accommodation to high-end tourists, businessmen, etc. remained unfulfilled. The Department in its reply (January 2020) stated that the progress of the project has picked up pace with a target to complete the hotel by September 2020,” the CAG report mentioned.