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Rajasthan govt to build Nehru Youth Transit Hostel in Delhi

With the establishment of the hostel, around 500 students of low income groups of Rajasthan, who are staying in Delhi & preparing for various competitive exam, will be provided accommodation facility

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (IANS Photo)
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot (IANS Photo)

Prakash Bhandari

Rajasthan is the first state in the country which will provide an exclusive transit hostel-cum facilitation centre for the youths of the state. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has taken a humanitarian decision to provide relief to the students of low income groups of Rajasthan preparing for competitive examinations in Delhi. He has approved the proposal for construction and operation of the Nehru Youth Transit Hostel and Facilitation Centre at Udaipur House in Delhi at a cost of Rs 330 crore. This centre will have 250 rooms.

With the establishment of the hostel, around 500 students of low income groups of Rajasthan, who are staying in Delhi and preparing for various competitive examinations after taking career counselling, will be provided accommodation facility. This hostel will have 250 rooms. The decision taken by Gehlot will provide relief to the students from expensive rent that they have to shell out on monthly basis by renting private accommodation. With the savings in rent, students will be able to buy stationery and other necessary materials needed for their preparation. The Chief Minister announced to open Nehru Youth Transit Hostel and Facilitation Centre in Delhi in the State Budget 2022-23.

This property spread in a sprawling 12,000-meter area near the Tees Hazari court is worth Rs 12,000 crores.

Chief Minister Gehlot announced that Udaipur House, which was once owned by the ruling family of Udaipur and came under the state government as per the condition of the covenant following the merger of the princely states under the Indian Union would be restored to its pristine glory once again. This property was in the possession of the Delhi Administration and it was the Gehlot government that waged a long battle with the Delhi government to take its possession as the original owner.

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. Thus, if the state government could obtain permission to operate its buses from Udaipur House, it would be a great relief to the passengers travelling from Delhi to Jaipur.

The Udaipur House property came up during the era when Luteyn’s Delhi was being designed. At that time the British asked the Udaipur royal family to build a mansion in Delhi like other princely houses.

After Independence, the princely states were merged into Indian Union. Rulers surrendered their properties to the government. Various Houses were transferred through a covenant to the state or the Union government. The Udaipur House as it was located in Delhi, was given to the Delhi government for use only. However, the ownership remained with the Rajasthan government after the formation of the state.

Bharatpur House became Rajasthan House and Jodhpur House and Bikaner House along with the Udaipur House were transferred to the Rajasthan government. Kota House, Dholpur House and Jaisalmer House, however, became properties of the Union government.

Kota House is in possession of the ministry of defence, the Dholpur House stands as the UPSC headquarters and the Jaisalmer House at 26, Man Singh Road is owned by the Ministry of Home affairs.

The state government had no idea about the ownership of the Udaipur House. But due to the untiring efforts of an officer of the General Administration Department (GAD), it was found that the land and the building of Udaipur House were passed from the royal family to the state government following the merger of the princely states like the Bikaner, Bharatpur and Jodhpur House.

In 2009, the GAD had made a Herculean effort to take possession of the property but was not successful.

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.

The Gehlot government has also undertaken the task of rebuilding the Rajasthan House on Delhi's Prithviraj Road. The old Rajasthan House will be razed and in its place, a new building at a cost of Rs 138 crores will be built that would have more rooms.

The present Rajasthan House has two buildings- a new wings and an old wing. These buildings are located in what was once Bharatpur House, owned by the Bharatpur royals. Adjacent to the old Bharatpur House, a six-storied building was built three decades ago.

The idea of creating a new building is to provide more space and more rooms. The Rajasthan government has set up a committee to suggest the means to redevelop the place and a team of IIT Roorkee engineers visited the area and after studying various aspects suggested the demolition of the two structures and building a new structure with optimum use of the space area. Recently the state government spent Rs 10 crores in repairing the building and Rs 40 lakh on its painting. Now an inventory is being made of the property and once the building is demolished, the state guest house at Chanakyapuri would be used for billeting the MLAs, MPs and ministers.

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.

Ashok Gehlot during his second term as the Chief Minister initiated the process of reclaiming the majestic property that once belonged to the Mewar ruling family.

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 rented 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 Rajasthan government, in the early 1950s, 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 Delhi administration has been using the majestic mansion, once owned by the ruler of Udaipur, for running its Labour Department’s office.

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