The Ashok Gehlot government, when the Chief Minister was in his second term, spared no efforts to reclaim the Udaipur House, located in the Civil Lines area of Delhi, back from the Delhi administration that was occupying the property for more than 60 years. In his third term, it has paid off and Rajasthan is back in possession of the sprawling property, worth well over ₹2000 crore now.
The Rajasthan government’s General Administration Department (GAD) went to the Supreme Court, armed with the records and documents that the Udaipur House was actually a property of the Rajasthan government and that it rent it out to the Delhi administration which refused to either vacate it or return possession to the Rajasthan government that actually is the rightful owner of the property.
The Delhi administration has been using the majestic mansion, once owned by the ruler of Udaipur, for running its Labour Department’s office.
The Rajasthan government’s chief secretary DB Gupta recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Delhi government’s chief secretary, Vijay Dev, to this effect and the MoU has finally reached the Supreme Court that had adjudicated in favour of Rajasthan.
In 2009, the GAD had made a Herculean effort to take possession of the property but was not successful.
Delhi’s Udaipur House originally belonged to the ruler of Mewar, but after Independence, under the covenant, it was transferred to the Rajasthan government and it became its property like Bikaner House and Bharatpur House.
The Rajasthan government, in the early 1950’s, had given this house to the Delhi administration but the Delhi government became a major defaulter since it stopped paying rent in 1965. Since then, it was illegally occupying the land and was running its labour department office from there.
The Rajasthan government is the owner of the building and the land, but even after vacating the Labour Department’s office, the Delhi government had put its lock on it.
The Rajasthan government had once planned to convert this into a commercial property that could bring in huge revenues to the State government. A former principal secretary of the GAD department, Rakesh Verma, had submitted a plan to the government in which he said a multi-storied building could be constructed on the land in such a way that all the State government offices in Delhi could be put under one roof and still there would be enough space to further rent out.
Verma had also said that with its large area, the Udaipur House could become another point from where buses could ply between Delhi and Jaipur as it is near Kashmiri Gate. The Delhi government, on an order from the Supreme Court, had stopped Rajasthan Roadways buses from operating from Bikaner House.
The Udaipur House, however, is in a dilapidated condition with creepers and trees having engulfed the building. There are heaps of filth strewn across the premise. There is a security guard who lives inside but there is no water and electricity connection.
The Udaipur royal family has no stake in the property but the former ruling clan would only be too happy to see this property coming back to Rajasthan and restored to its former glory.