JAIPUR: With employees resorting to protests against leasing out two heritage properties - Khasa Kothi in Jaipur and Anand Bhawan in Udaipur worth thousands of crores, the government on Wednesday, in a press conference, justified the decision. 

N C Goel, additional chief secretary (tourism) and chairman of RTDC, said the department is giving these hotels on lease for 30 years for operation and maintenance, not selling them. The decision was taken due to mounting losses. " The decision to lease the two properties has been taken after a study. In a transparent manner, the properties will be open tendered." 

He said the heritage character of the properties will not be tampered with as RTDC has incorporated terms and conditions after consulting with the School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal. 

Goel said there are 65 employees working in both hotels, with an annual financial liability of Rs 3 crore. 

However, Akhil Rajasthan Rajya Karmchari Sanyukt Mahasangh general secretary Tej Singh alleged, "No study has been conducted and government's main motive is to sell these properties. It is a conspiracy and state government is deliberately making these heritage properties defunct in order to handover them to private players. In 2014, the department had shown the door to 500 employees claiming the losses will be recovered. After this, services of these hotels were severely affected as not even contractual staff was hired." 

Inviting private players for operation and maintenance is not a new initiative. As per documents available with TOI, in 1987, an advertisement inviting tender for lease was published. In 1992, Mathura Das Mathur committee recommended that Rajasthan State Hotels Corporation (RSHC) should be closed and its properties should either be disposed off by sale or operated as joint venture. Following this, in 1999, the state cabinet decided to merge RSHC with Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC). 

In 2001, Raj Singh Nirwan Committee recommended that RSHC be divested to the private sector. The expenditure reforms commission also submitted a review report and recommended that RSHC should be closed down and its main properties should be divested to private sector.