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After Crowborough, five-star hotel construction comes to a standstill

The under construction five star hotel on Jail Road seen from the Shillong Jail premises raises security concerns. (ST)
The under construction five star hotel on Jail Road seen from the Shillong Jail premises raises security concerns. (ST)

Over Rs 1 crore pending rental forces Urban Affairs Dept to take action against HM Cements

Project delayed by over 4 years
SHILLONG: Is the construction of a five star hotel on Jail Road going the Hotel Crowborough way? The hotel Crowborough which has not been commissioned since decades is currently under arbitration, but the same fate is failing on the upcoming Marriott hotel which too has been delayed for over four years now.
The construction work of the five star hotel which is one of the tallest buildings in Shillong was started with a lot of enthusiasm in the year 2011-2012, but the project was delayed and the hotel is far from being commissioned.
HM Cements which is implementing the project had tied up with the famous Marriott group of hotels, USA to construct the much awaited five star hotel.
HM Cements was supposed to complete the project within a period of 27 months of handing over of land.  The land was allotted on a lease for 30 years under PPP mode by the urban affairs department in 2010.
An official source said on Monday that with over Rs 1 core rent to be paid by HM Cements to the Shillong Municipal Board which is the beneficiary, the urban affairs department suggested the government to take action against the firm so that the hotel can be taken over by the government. But the file related to the matter is still pending with the higher authorities since last October. The rent fixed by the department to be paid to the Municipal Board was Rs 72 lakh per annum.
The source added that after the HM Cements had sought time to pay the rent, the government allowed extension for one year. Later, another extension was also sought by the firm. Finally the company paid 50% of the rent (Rs 36 lakh) to the Municipal Board in December 2014 and over Rs 1 crore is pending to be paid for the year 2015-16.
The source informed that after the company defaulted in payment, a pleader’s notice was sent to the company. The reply of the company was not satisfactory to the department. Though the works for the outer portion of the building was completed, other works including interiors are pending. The work has now come to a standstill since last few years.
Besides the cash crunch, the hotel was constructed allegedly breaching the security of the nearby Shillong jail. The entire view of the Shillong jail is visible from the top of the hotel.
However, an official of the HM cements denied that the work has stopped in the hotel even as he claimed that the work has slowed down.
The official also informed that they would commission the hotel anyhow this year which would be a boon for tourism especially the high end tourists who visit the state.
But a government official said that only after the personnel of Marriott group of hotels is satisfied with the entire building after inspection that it would finally agree to run the hotel.
The much awaited project had earlier hit several hurdles including litigation when some of the residents in the premises moved the court to save their shops from being demolished.
The upcoming hotel which is being constructed at 72000 square feet area will have around two hundred rooms with state of the art facilities.
Under the project 30000 square feet of land has also been reserved for the office of the Shillong Municipal Board, and the total estimated budget of the project was around Rs 100 crore.
The five star hotel in the city was expected to cater largely to the shortage of accommodation when hundreds of tourists visit the state especially in peak seasons.

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