Udaipur House to be abode for Rajasthan students

The Ashok Gehlot government that waged a long administrative, legal battle to reclaim the Udaipur House back from the Delhi administration would develop the heritage building as a centre for learning

Udaipur House to be abode for Rajasthan students

Prakash Bhandari

The Ashok Gehlot government that waged a long administrative and legal battle to reclaim the Udaipur House, located in Delhi’s Civil Lines area, back from the Delhi administration would develop the heritage building as a centre for learning.

Chief Minister Gehlot announced that Udaipur House, which was once owned by the ruling family of Udaipur and came to 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 near the Tees Hazari court sprawled over 12,000 sq meter is estimated to be worth around Rs.1,500 crore.

The Chief Minister in his state budget speech had hinted that students from Rajasthan who go to Delhi to prepare for the civil services examination would be able to stay there.

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 General Administration Department (GAD), Rakesh Verma, had submitted a plan to the government in which he said a multi-storeyed 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 near India Gate. 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 fromDelhi to Jaipur.

The Udaipur House, however, is in dilapidated condition with creepers and trees having engulfed the building. There are heaps of filth strewn across the premise. But since it is a heritage property, it cannot be demolished to raise a new structure.

It was Ashok Gehlot during his second term as the Chief Minister who initiated the process of reclaiming the majestic property that once belonged to the ruler of Mewar.

The Rajasthan government, in the early 1950s, had given this house to the Delhi administration but the Delhi government stopped paying rent in 1965. The Delhi administration has been using the mansion for running its Labour Department’s office.

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. Thus, Bharatpur House became Rajasthan House and Jodhpur House and Bikaner House along with 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 occupied by the MHA.

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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