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Tourism department wishes to sell its sick hotels, finds few takers  Oct 21, 2008

Lucknow - The much-hyped privatisation of hotels and other property owned by Uttar Pradesh Tourism has received a lukewarm response. While officials maintain that big players of tourism sector are interested in buying the property, the first bid opened on Monday had an altogether different story to tell.

The list of the bidders for the hotels and rest houses in Gorakhpur, Kaushambi, Kushinagar, Sankisa and Sarnath near Varanasi had no big names. For most of the property, there were either no takers or barely one or two bidders, who owned hotels in the nearby areas.

The only site for which there were three bidders was the hotel at Sarnath, which also happens to be the only property in proper condition.

Sources in the tourism department said poor infrastructure and decaying condition of these hotels and guesthouses are keeping many players away from bidding.

A senior official of the department said: “These hotels are in a bad shape and in such remote and inaccessible areas that no one would be keen to own them.” The official added barely 40 of these properties are in a decent condition, while the rest are all in a bad shape. Moreover, the bid rules state that the basic structure of the properties could not be changed and this could also be responsible for few takers.

“Only properties on the Delhi route like those in Ghaziabad, Baghpat or Hindon have evoked a good response as they are huge properties. With the Commonwealth Games approaching, these hotels are being eyed by the buyers,” the official added.

The department, however, maintains that they are waiting for the “right bidders” to strike a “good deal” before they finalise any names. “We are not hurrying up the process as we want a good deal,” Sushil Kumar, principal secretary tourism, said.

The department had decided to sell around 70 of its hotels and rest houses to private players on the public-private partnership model, as most of these were suffering with heavy losses.

Tourism department wishes to sell its sick hotels, finds few takers
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