Madhya Pradesh HC stays commercial alteration of Minto Hall.
Madhya Pradesh High Court today stayed the State Government's plans to turn over the Minto Hall at Bhopal to commercial use. The stay was issued by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Syed Rafat Alam and Justice Alok Aradhe on a petition filed by the Bhopal Citizen's Forum. The State government had plans to construct many things including a convention centre at the Minto Hall which is adjacent to the Raj Bhavan.
Minto Hall, situated opposite Raj Bhavan, has had a colourful history. Its construction, spread over a score of years, was completed in 1909 and it had cost Rs three lakh then. Nawab Sultanjahan Begum had engaged A.C.Rovan as the main architect for designing this building for putting up the royal guests. Soon thereafter the Minto Hall was converted to an army cantonment. Later it housed the offices of the Inspector General of Police. The Defence Services and Civil Services were also established in the Minto Hall. Abida Sultan, the heir-apparent, discovered the new game of roller skates hockey to play on the floors of Minto Hall. In 1946, Bhopal’s prestigious HamidiaCollege started functioning in Minto Hall, pending the construction of the College’s own building. After Independence, the building was used as the Assembly of Madhya Pradesh till 1996 when the new Rs 60-crore building was constructed elsewhere. Since then, it has been used as the venue for holding exhibitions or workshops on contemporary topics.
Minto Hall : OldVidhanSabhaBuilding (Bhopalभोपाल (The City of Lakes)
A cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had decided that a convention-cum-trade centre will be established on the premises of Old Vidhan Sabha (Minto Hall and land adjoining it).
The 6.73 acre land of Minto Hall and land adjoining it will be given to the private sector partner on Re 1 lease rent for 60 years. On fulfilling all the terms and conditions, there will a provision to extend this lease for 30 more years. This 6.73 acre land will be developed as a convention centre where 2 thousand square metre area will also be developed as an exhibition hall. The open space in front of Minto Hall measuring 1.20 acre can be used as open-air cafeteria and similar usages.
On the rest of 7.11 acre land (including 0.83 land in the park in front of Minto Hall) a 200-room star hotel, retail construction on maximum one lakh square feet and office complex, serviced apartments and other similarly facilities will be developed in maximum 3 lakh square feet. At the same time construction of international oceanarium and aquarium can be built under the option of private participation. The rights of inking agreement with the selected participant for allotting all the 13.84 acre land from premises of Minto Hall up to Machhli Ghar (aquarium) on lease/concession will be transferred in favour of Madhya Pradesh Laghu Udyog Nigam. Such a process will also be evolved that stamp duty is not imposed twice while transferring the land to Laghu Udyog Nigam and then to the private co-partner.
It was decided in the case of upset value of the land that the private sector partner will make payment of total value of 7.11 acre land available for new construction/use, which amounts to Rs 85 crore 32 lakh, at the time of signing the agreement and the due interest in 14 annual installments. The price at the upset rate of Rs 12 crore per acre commercial land has been commuted as per the decision taken by the cabinet on May 31, 2008 and the private player will pay 8.5 per cent interest in 14 installments, which the private player can also pay in lump sum at any time during these 14 years. Only that private participant will be selected, who bids for maximum annual price in addition to initial rates for 7.11 acre land to the project.