Garg responds on Hotel Mount Everest after outcry in the social media and Gurung's statement

Vivek Chhetri

Bimal Gurung today said the GTA would oppose the dismantling of Hotel Mount Everest and demanded that the new structure proposed at the same site be in tune with "the aesthetic value of the place".
Hotel Mount Everest Darjeeling
Hotel Mount Everest Darjeeling
East India Hotels (EIH) Limited, which owns the Oberoi and Trident brand of hotels, had recently announced that it had sold the property to a consortium of businessmen led by B.M. Garg, a Darjeeling-based multiplex owner, for Rs 11 crore.

In a Facebook post, the GTA chief executive welcomed the purchase of the hotel by Garg. "I have just come to learn from news reports regarding the purchase of the Heritage Mount Everest Hotel. I am happy that the purchase by a private company has materialised. After a period of 30 years of remaining as an eyesore, it is a welcome sign," he said in the post.

Terming the hotel, which had once hosted Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Amitabh Bachchan among others, as part of Darjeeling's "folklore", Gurung said: "...The Hotel is so deeply integral to the lives of the people of Darjeeling that the dismantling of the place would not be the right solution. It has a History of it's own which is woven with the History of Darjeeling."

Reminiscing about how he used to "stand in awe and admire the place from the road", Gurung said: "The GTA will oppose any form of dismantling of the Iconic Heritage architectural structure. The new venture that is being proposed must be inline with the existing structure and construction must be undertaken without dismantling the aesthetic value of the place."

He has also demanded that the earlier employees of the hotel be reabsorbed.

Soon after Gurung issued the statement, Garg today took the media to the property to show that the structure was on the verge of collapse -the beams of the three-storied structure had fallen and the concrete floor had cracked.

"It seems the rooms in the hotel were about 120sqft each. But modern hotels now have rooms of at least 410sqft. The toilets are also small," said Garg.

He had said the 100-year-old structure would be dismantled and a housing complex and a new hotel would come up in its place.

Responding to Gurung's statement as well as the outcry in the social media over the plan to pull down the hotel, Garg said: "As someone from Darjeeling, who was born and brought up here, I understand the aesthetic value of the place. We might have to alter the structure depending on the advice of architects. But we will use the same construction materials (stones) and we will come up with the same design. I assure everyone that the new hotel will be even better and will be in tune with the architectural value of the existing building."

Garg also said the new hotel would be named Mount Everest.

"My attachment to the hotel is immense. My sister, Premlata Agarwal, who climbed Mount Everest and six other peaks across the globe, had her engagement ceremony here at this hotel in 1982," said Garg.

The hotel was devastated in a fire on October 19, 1978, and was ultimately closed in June 1984.

Source - Telegraph

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