Five-star hotel on track, CPI-M learns more about tourism business

September 23rd, 2008 - 1:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi, Sep 23 (IANS) The latest proposed tourism venture in Kerala backed by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is a hospitality centre in Kozhikode that includes a five-star hotel and a catering institute. The party now seems keen to learn more about the tourism business. V. Padmanabhan, secretary of the Kozhikode Tourism Development Society (KTDS), a CPI-M controlled cooperative organisation, visited the ongoing Kerala Travel Mart here over the weekend along with former party legislator V.K.C. Mammed Koya, the society’s director. The KTDS is the flagship body that will implement the Kozhikode hotel project.

Padmanabhan told IANS that they had attended the travel mart to gain first-hand knowledge of the nuances of the tourism business, but added that the controversy surrounding the hotel project had been blown out of proportion.

“The present controversy that the CPI-M is building a five-star hotel is needless because this is being carried out by a cooperative society and it so happens that many of the society members are are CPI-M followers. Is that a big crime?” asked Padmanabhan.

The authorised capital of the society has been fixed at Rs.8.25 crores (Rs.82.5 million) and they have begun issuing three types of shares.

“Category A shareholders would be for individuals with the value of one share pegged at Rs.1,000. Category B is for various state government organisations and Category C for other cooperative societies,” explained Koya.

The society has crossed the first step of acquiring land for the mega project. They took part in an auction conducted by a Kozhikode court and got a 55-cent plot of land in a prime locality in the city.

“Fifteen different parties had taken part in the auction and our quote came second and the court decided that since we are a cooperative, we should be given priority. We paid Rs.5.50 crores (Rs.55 million) for the land,” said Padmanabhan.

The society members say that the controversy about CPI-M launching a five-star hotel has got them a lot of publicity. Regional media had highlighted how the party was slowly making it presence felt in the tourism sector by first opening a Rs.350 million amusement park in Kannur district last month and now building a five star hotel.

“We are indeed grateful to the media who gave us a lot of publicity for the society and the project. For nearly a week this was the main story for many in the media. We got free publicity and it has given us lot of visibility,” said Koya, who is also a businessman who controls a large share of Kerala’s footwear market.

The cooperative society’s board of directors also has two CPI-M ministers, the party’s Kozhikode district committee secretary T.P. Ramakrishnan and Kozhikode Mayor M. Bhaskaran as members.

“Our first priority is not the hotel but instead a state of art catering and hotel management institute. We are at the travel mart see what professional tourism is about and we also don’t mind entering into a joint venture for our projects. This is the best place to meet those who are in the hospitality industry,” said Koya.

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