Mumbai: The deferment of privatisation of two oil public sector units (PSUs) - HPCL and BPCL - for three months and the consequent postponement of disinvestment of other PSUs has come as a shot in the arm for India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
The corporation was desperately trying to prevent the department of disinvestment (DoD) from reviving the disinvestment process for Hotel Ashoka, Delhi, and is now confident that it will be able to stave off any opposition to its move to keep the prime property under its fold.
In order to achieve the goal, ITDC is planning to utilise the three-month cooling period offered by the recent decision of the cabinet committee on disinvestment (CCD), to build a strong case against the privatisation of its prime property.
Sources say the ITDC management has already embarked on a major turnaround strategy to make the hotel profitable by the next financial year. The next three months, which will coincide with the peak tourist season, will be utilised to garner maximum business and boost the hotel's revenue.
ITDC has set a target of achieving a Rs 55-crore turnover from Hotel Ashoka this year and if the turnover reaches Rs 60 crore, the corporation will distribute Rs 1.5 crore as incentives to its employees. Moreover, a cabinet note has already been circulated for seeking about Rs 50-crore support from the government to renovate the hotel.
The sources say even if the cabinet gives a view on this note, bringing back Hotel Ashoka on the disinvestment block again might become difficult for DoD. ''ITDC would utilise the next three months to prepare a strong case against privatisation of the property. It is expected that Tourism and Culture Minister Jagmohan would follow the footsteps of Petroleum Minister Ram Naik and ask for a presentation against bringing back Hotel Ashoka and few other properties of ITDC under the disinvestment block at the next CCD meeting.
But, when contacted, ITDC chairman Ashwani Lohani denied that any special drive is on after the recent CCD meeting to prevent DoD from reviving the disinvestment process for Hotel Ashoka. ''We are taking all steps to give a facelift to the property and make it a profitable hotel.''