Hotel Centre Point at Ramdaspeth has arguably been the most preferred choice for a typical Nagpur celebration or event. The hotel has been competitively handling the influx of big and small hospitality brands in the city. While Hotel Centre Point tops the bucket list of Nagpurians planning their celebrations and events, the hotel is braving a stiff competition from newer hotels vis-à-vis outstation guests and dining places. Nation Next speaks to Jasbir Singh Arora, popularly known as Mickey Arora, the owner of the hotel, about making of the biggest hospitality brand of Nagpur ? Hotel Centre Point.
Please tell us the story behind the inception of Hotel Centre Point.
We used to reside exactly behind where Hotel Centre Point is now, but it was a vacant plot then. Nagpur didn’t have good hotels, having even basic facilities like centralised air-conditioned rooms, etc. So we decided to build a good hotel (in 1988) on that vacant plot as its location was perfect for a hotel. Hotel industry was totally a new experience for us as we previously dealt with automobiles, spare parts, paints and trading. Still, we tried to make a mark in the hospitality industry here by coming up with a quality hotel. Sardar waise bhi famous hote hai khatirdari karne main! (Sikhs are anyway famous for their hospitality!)
Your family migrated from Pakistan in 1947. Please tell us about your initial struggle days in Nagpur.
In 1947, my father migrated from Pakistan and came directly to Nagpur. We started a business, which involved sales of automobile spare parts, trading and paints. The shop was known as Deepak Paint Mart, which is still there in Sadar but with a changed name. When I was 16, I started looking after the shop. At the initial stage, we were not financially strong, so we faced lot of problems in trading goods. When our paint workshop and other related businesses got settled, we thought of entering into the hotel industry. Various schemes were available for financing ambitious projects. During those days, getting a loan was difficult. So, it took eight months for us to get the funds. Our project was finally sanctioned due to sheer dedication and hard work. But as we needed more funds for the hotel, we had to liquidate our assets, shares etc. Also, as not many experienced architects were available in Nagpur, we had to rope in architects from Delhi.
Hotel Tuli Imperial, which is at a stone throw away distance from your hotel on Central Bazar road, has come up with first of its kind roof top lounge Ru-oo-fh 180? in Nagpur. How do you plan to compete with them in terms of dining facilities
Competition doesn’t mean it’s a threat to us. It was initially our idea to come up with a thematic rooftop dining area but it got delayed. As one of our competitors started it first, it helped us in our research. In a couple of months, Hotel Centre Point too would come up with a rooftop restaurant, based on Moroccan theme.
Hotel Centre Point recently went in for major renovation. Was this part of your strategy to compete with Tuli Imperial?
I didn’t feel any pressure to change the décor or ambience of my hotel. We wanted to give our hotel a fresh look and feel, that’s why we went in for a major renovation. This change was brought about for a personal satisfaction, rather than some other intention. We have not just renovated the entrance of the hotel but also the lobby, locker rooms, housekeeping and cafeteria. The lobby area was given a face lift, which also gives a positive feeling to our staff. The overall structure and the beauty of our hotel attracts more sophisticated customers now. This makes our staff happier and as a result they serve customers better. Our competitors are undoubtedly putting in a lot of efforts to supersede us but Centre Point didn’t become a brand overnight. It’s a result of our consistent quality services and goodwill.
Tuli Imperial is a boutique hotel with grand interiors, and there are no parking hassles there. How has your business got affected since its launch?
Tuli Imperial was never a threat to us. In fact, when there are similar products available in one area, the customer is benefited because healthy competition leads to better service and improved quality. The saying – Survival of the fittest? – definitely holds true. We have been serving our customers since decades. No matter how difficult the situation is, we have always emerged as the winners. We serve good quality food at a competitive pricing. We have ample parking space where at least, 80 cars can be easily parked but still our customers at times feel that parking is a bit chaotic. We are planning to upgrade our parking, which would soon accommodate more than 120 cars.
What do you have to say about frequent gambling raids in Nagpur hotels
As per our hotel rules and regularity procedures, we always try not to encourage our guests or staff to get involved in gambling or other illegal activities in or around our hotel as we cater to the families. We have certain kind of limitations on our premises. When we allot a room to our guests, we are not supposed to enter it without their permission due to privacy reasons. We have to call them and wait. Still if there’s no response, we need to call the management, write down in our legal procedure book and then take any kind of action against the same. If we have given our 40 rooms for wedding purpose to our guests and if there is any kind of gambling happening in any of those rooms, we will never come to know. If we come to know, we definitely take an action against the same.
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It is rumoured that DCP Abhinash Kumar was transferred from Zone I to Zone III because of influential and strong hotel owners lobby of west Nagpur, which was upset with Kumar’s frequent gambling raids in prominent hotels
Abhinash Kumar is a gem of a person. I have met him a couple of times. It’s his duty to raid a place if he receives any information, something that he had cleared to us long back. No one is so influential to get our DCPs transferred. There were few more internal changes in the zones after he got transferred from Zone I to Zone III. There’s nothing wrong in transferring our DCPs as most of them are still in Nagpur. It’s a general routine. Kumar might be more capable of handling his duties in Zone III like our former Commissioner of Police – SP Yadav – had said. I’ve never taken any kind of favour from any DCP or CP during raids. I’ve always followed all the legal procedures and the same is being followed by the police.
Also read: Food Review of ‘Lahoree Deluxe’
Recently an FIR was lodged against your nephew Hardeep Singh Arora by his wife for sexual harassment and dowry. How do you respond to these accusations
It’s his personal matter and I have nothing to do with it. There’s misunderstanding and complications between the two families, which has led to such an unpleasant scenario between them. This case has no relevance as there is no strong evidence against Hardeep.
Rushikesh Lohit reigns as numero uno in Rapid Championship; Shaunak Badole tops Nagpur Blitz Championship
Rushikesh Lohit won the Nagpur District Rapid Championship while Shaunak Badole won the Nagpur District Blitz Chess Championship held at Vivekanand Hall, Shraddha House, Kingsway, Near Kasturchand Park in Nagpur.
The championship was organised by Chess Association Nagpur in association with Kalpana Prakash Welfare Foundation and G.H.Raisoni Sports and Cultural Foundation. Muktanand Pendsey finished second in the both Rapid and Blitz Championship. Rushikesh Lohit and Muktanand Pendsey will represent Nagpur in the Rapid Championship and Shaunak and Muktanand will represent Nagpur District in the Maharashtra State Blitz Championship.
Mangesh Kashikar, Secretary, Nagpur District Badminton Association and Vice President of Maharashtra Badminton Association was the Chief Guest who distributed the prizes. Bhushan Shriwas, Secretary, CAN and Kalpana Prakash Welfare Foundation, SS.Soman, Working President, CAN and Amrish Joshi, Chief Arbiter were present on the occasion.
The Top two finishers of Rapid and Blitz Championship were awarded Trophies whereas the players finishing from 3rd to 10th place were awarded Medals in both the championship. In addition to the main prizes, age group prizes were also distributed to top two finishers in each group.
The championship was conducted by Chief Arbiter Amrish Joshi assisted by SNA Swati Kumbhalkar, SNA Amit Tembhurne, Shyam Agrawal, Prayas Amabde and Prathamesh Machave.
Wine connoisseurs come together at Wine and Food Festival 2022 in Nagpur
Wine connoisseurs came together at Wine and Food Festival 2022 in Nagpur, which took place on December 3 and 4. This was the ninth edition. It was hosted by Nagpur Wine Club, and was held at Bhagwati Lawn. The festival was open to all, where people enjoyed wine tasting and lip-smacking food by The Breakfast Story, Nagpur. Nation Next brings you some exclusive photos from the event.
‘Maharashtra government responsive towards issues of traders,’ assures Eknath Shinde
At the outset Dr Dipen Agrawal, President of Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade (CAMIT) welcomed Chief Minister, Eknath Shinde with a floral bouquet in prominent presence of Krupal Tumane MP, Ramtek and submitted memorandums highlighting harassment of traders by Local Body Tax department across the state under the garb of LBT Assessment. He also appraised about the issue of Nagpur Metropolitan Region Development Authority (NMRDA) and he further brought to the notice of CM about the exorbitant hike in rent by Corporations & their coercive action on traders.
Dr Agrawal on behalf of traders of Maharashtra expressed his gratitude towards Eknath Shinde about Local Body Tax being abolished (LBT with effect from August 2015. Though LBT was abolished in 2015 but the ghost of LBT is haunting traders now and then, department in routine are passing ex-party (best judgement) orders raising inflated and fictitious tax demands and using them to justify continuance of LBT Department. Records from LBT Appellate Authority will evidence the correctness of this statement. He also informed that LBT Department in various Corporation indulged in issuing back dated assessment orders for previous financial years. He appealed to CM that the issue requires his urgent attention, intervention and directions for closure of LBT Department in all Municipal Corporations with immediate effect to ensure ease of doing business in the state and save traders from unnecessary harassment.
Eknath Shinde acknowledged that he is aware of the issue. He assured to discuss the issue in cabinet and ensure that the issue is addressed on priority basis.
Dr Dipen Agrawal informed CM, that since last few years Municipal Corporations across the state stopped renewing lease/license of property leased/licensed by them. In 2019 the state government came up with Maharashtra Municipal Corporations (Renewal of Lease or Transfer of Immovable Property) Rules, 2019. These Rules were strongly opposed by trade associations. However, after its implementation the litigation between the lessee/tenants and Corporations went to court added Dr Agrawal.
After great persuasion by the then LOP, you as minister for UDD agreed to the demand to put the notification dated 13/09/2019 in abeyance and review the exorbitant annual rent at 8% property value and fix the annual rent acceptable to all stakeholders.
After the issue was raised on the floor of the house, the State government stayed the operation of notification dated 13/09/2019 and constituted a committee of government officers to review and fix fresh rent. When we approached few members of the committee to submit our suggestions’ we learnt that the committee is of opinion that the notification in question does not apply to the Licensee holder.
Hence, in the background of above facts and circumstances Agrawal requested CM, to intervene and have the pending notification issued and fix the rent at 0.5% of Ready Reckoner value for residential & 1% for commercial lease holder Galedharaks . He further requested to notify similar rules and frame a single policy for the Licensee Galedharaks across the state and in cases where shop/otta is licensed by Corporation the annual rent be fixed at the rate of 2% of value as per ready reckoner and as the lease/license fee will be calculated on ready reckoner the clause of periodic increase dose not survive also the lease / license should be transferable and transfer fee to be charged equal to one month rent/fee for transfer within blood relation and equal to three months’ rent/fee for transfer outside blood relation and the agreed new lease rent/license fee to be made applicable prospectively and not retrospectively.
Eknath Shinde said that the issue is under active consideration and assured to look into the matter and discuss with Chief Minister, Eknath Shinde to resolve the issue to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.
Dr. Dipen Agrawal further informed Eknath Shinde that the first notification declared 5 Km area touching outer limits of Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) as Nagpur Metro Region issued in 1995 which was thereafter increased time to time to present limit of 25 Km from boundary of NMC. In 2010 Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) was entrusted with responsibility of Special Planning Authority for Nagpur Metro Region the limits. In 2012 NIT passed resolution for preparing development plan for Metro Region and published Draft Development Plan (2012-2032) calling objection and suggestions, in the year 2015. In 2017 Nagpur Metropolitan Region Development Authority (NMRDA) was established. In 2018 Final Development Plan (2012-2032) for Nagpur Metro Region was sanctioned and notified. NMRDA action is based on following three main reasons:-
1) Side margins are not as per 2012-2032 DCR; Dr. Agrawal highlighted that majority of units i.e., 59% were established before the 2012-NIT resolution and 85% were established before the first publication of 2015-Draft Development Plan (2012-2032), and pointed out that it is unjust on part of NMRDA to expect these units to maintain the margins prescribed in DCR (2012-32).
2) Building plan/ Non-agriculture use is not sanctioned by competent authority; Dr. Agrawal pointed out that under MRTP Act the power to change use of land is can be delegated to Thasildar and powers to authorise development to Gram Panchayat concerned. Invoking these powers Thasildar was approving and sanctioning NA Permissions and Gram Panchayat was sanctioning Building Plans. The units in good faith have taken these permissions from them and further submitted to other Government agencies.
3) Land earmarked for purpose other than industrial/commercial; MRTP Act provides for survey and preparing ‘existing-land-use’ map by Planning Authority after its declaration of intention of preparing a Development Plan. It is surprising to note that the area of many units established prior to declaration of intention of preparing Development Plan is not classified under industrial/commercial zone.
Dr. Dipen Agrawal humbly requested CM to grant an Amnesty Scheme for regularization wherein interest & penalty would be waived and also direct the authorities to notify that the MSME units established prior to 06/01/2018 (the date on which the DCR 2012-2032 for Nagpur Metropolitan Region was notified) should be saved from the provisions of the said DCR.
Eknath Shinde said that the government is sized with issue and assured to resolve the matter in the best interest of all stakeholders.
Dr. Dipen Agrawal, President-CAMIT on behalf of business community of the state expressed his gratitude towards Eknath Shinde, Chief Minister, Krupal Tumane, Member of Parliament, Ramtek for being sensitive towards the issues of trade & industry of the state.