Privatisation of Lalitha Mahal: Vatal stages lone protest

Vatal Nagaraj, former MLA of Chamarajanagar and president of Kannada Chaluvali Paksha on Saturday, staged a lone protest by sleeping on a mat, against the privatisation of Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel in the city. Lalitha Mahal, the second largest palace in Mysuru, located near the Chamundi Hill, was built in 1921 and converted into a heritage hotel in 1974.

“Though the state government owns the property, India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is running the hotel on lease. Now, the Union government is planning to hand over the maintenance to private people,” Nagaraj said.

He urged the state government to take over the hotel. The authorities of ITDC have asked the state government to cancel the agreement as the hotel is under loss and have also sought the government to privatise it. The Palace, which was built by Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, the then Maharaja of Mysore for the exclusive stay of the then Viceroy of India, is a pride of Mysuru.

He warned of a state-wide protest, if the government hands over the hotel to private players.  Nagaraj said that various like-minded pro-Kannada organisations will observe a Karnataka bandh on February 27 against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “biased” approach towards the state. “Though the state had urged the Union government to resolve various issues, such as Mahadayi River water dispute, Kalasa-Banduri, Mekedatu drinking water project and Cauvery river water sharing issue, the prime minister has been neglecting the state,” he said.

As many as 2,000 pro-Kannada organisations including Hotel Owners’ Association, taxi and autorickshaw associations, have extended support for the bandh, said Nagaraj.

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