The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Assam basks in 5-star warmth

Guwahati, Oct. 23: The Tarun Gogoi government today indicated it would gladly make a few concessions for the Tatas to build a five-star hotel in the Assam capital.

A meeting convened by Gogoi to discuss the nitty-gritty of the proposal by the Tata-owned Indian Hotels Company ended with the government showing more than a passing interest in expanding the city’s presence in the hospitality industry.

Sources in the chief minister’s office said the company would like to build the hotel on a Kahilipara plot belonging to the veterinary department. If it gets that plot, the project will be completed in two years.

Tourism minister Rockybul Hussain, veterinary minister Khorsingh Ingti, principal secretary (revenue) V.K. Pripersania, principal secretary (tourism) H.K. Das, Kamrup (metropolitan) deputy commissioner Avinash Joshi and the principal secretary to the chief minister, T.Y. Das, attended the meeting.

Sources said the meeting reviewed the feasibility of the proposal before discussing the road ahead.

One of the participants in the meeting suggested that the veterinary department enter into a joint-venture agreement with the company or hand over the land to the tourism department, which has been exploring ways to upgrade the hospitality sector to woo high-end tourists. “The discussions were fruitful, though nothing was finalised about handing the land to the company. We believe the proposed project is on the right track,” a source said.

Infosys’s chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy said during a visit to the city on August 4 that he would like to see “good air connectivity, a good five-star hotel, excellent bandwidth and good (use of) English” before his company begins operations in the state.

If the Tata deal comes through, it will be the second investment from outside the state in a hotel after the one being constructed by the DS Group in Gotanagar. The Taj Group, also owned by the Tatas, is already building a hotel at Six Mile under its Ginger brand.

Gogoi met Ratan Tata in Mumbai during one of his visits this year to hunt for investment. The need for high-end hotels was also raised during the investment summit in Bangkok last month.

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