Court issues temporary order against Tiger Palace Resort

- Madhav Dhungana, BHAIRAHAWA

Jul 7, 2019-

The Rupandehi District Court has issued a temporary order against selling or building anything on the plot where the five-star Tiger Palace Resort, Bhairahawa stands, pending a full verdict on a writ petition alleging encroachment on public land.

The court issued the interim order against Tiger One and Silver Heritage Investment on Friday. Thaneshwor Ghimire, chairman of a water user group under the Bhairahawa-Lumbini Ground Water Irrigation Project, filed the writ demanding recovery of 9 katthas (3,205 square metres) of public land.

Ghimire has accused the resort of encroaching on plots 120, 148, 152 and 190 belonging to a public canal and plot 73 belonging to the government. “We have been speaking out against public property being encroached on by the resort from the beginning, but our pleas fell on deaf ears,” he said. “The resort did not coordinate with the locals and captured the land.”

The Australian-listed Silver Heritage Group debuted in Nepal in 2015 with the opening of The Millionaire’s Club & Casino at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kathmandu. In 2017, it opened the 100-room Tiger Palace Resort in Bhairahawa, which is the first integrated five-star casino resort in South Asia.

Ghimire said that the canal which was a source of irrigation for 50 bighas of land had collapsed. Many farmers plotted their holdings and sold them. The Tiger Palace Resort bought most of the parcels.

Judge Narishwor Bhandari issued the ruling preventing approval to sell or develop facilities on the land and informed the concerned Land Revenue Office accordingly. The court also said the order should be communicated to the local authority and police office.

“The order means that no structure can be developed on the land until a final verdict is given on the case,” said advocate Lekhnath Pokhrel, the lawyer for the plaintiff. The court has not issued any order barring the transfer of shares of the resort, said Pokhrel.

Attempts to contact officials of the Tiger Palace Resort were not immediately successful. However, a source at the resort, who has been looking at the land transaction development closely, said the canal collapsed after the resort purchased most of the plots it used to irrigate. “The resort has also allocated some land that can be used for the canal if required.”

The Silver Heritage Group said its search for partners or outright buyers for its operations in Nepal had elicited some inquiries. It announced its search for partners or buyers early in May. At least four top Nepali companies are vying to buy the resort, multiple sources recently told the Post.

Leading business houses like the Chaudhary Group, IME Group, Vishal Group and a non-resident Nepali based in Malaysia are eyeing to take over the property, according to sources.

In the second phase, Silver Heritage plans to offer 400 guest rooms. It was awarded a five-star rating by the Department of Tourism in November 2017.

Tiger Palace is spread over 15 bighas and features two villas, a gym, spa, swimming pools, restaurants and meeting and banquet facilities suitable for weddings. The resort has a 2,471 square-metre casino floor.

Published: 08-07-2019 07:30

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