Govt proposes renting out Governor House

Corporate events, photo shoots etc can help generate operational expense


Imran Adnan March 12, 2019
PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The government has proposed renting out the Punjab Governor House for commercial purposes to generate the operational expenditures of the estate.

However, authorities have to introduce some legislation to implement this proposal. At the same time, the Governor’s House management has also prepared a business plan and forwarded it to Prime Minister Imran Khan for approval.

An official of the Punjab Governor House confirmed this development to The Express Tribune. He said it has been proposed to rent out the Governor House estate for corporate events, photo shoots, wedding functions, musical concerts and other such activities. He indicated that the house prepared a business plan with various options and tariff proposals.

The house has proposed that the government rent out the lawns for Rs1 million a day for functions, Rs200,000 for photo shoots and Rs10,000 to Rs50,000 for lodging in different rooms of historic significance. The house has also proposed the government introduce paid tickets for visits to the property.

As per a draft, the house has proposed that the government to introduce a Rs50 ticket for visitors and Rs25 for students. For a guided tour, the house has proposed a tariff of Rs500 for Pakistani citizens and Rs1,000 for foreign tourists on weekends.

Responding to a question, the official said the government has to introduce some legislation to open the Governor House for the general public. The current law of the land does not allow the government to rent out state buildings for commercial purposes. He further said it was not yet decided who can book a room for lodging.

Currently, people with political connections are availing similar facilities free of cost. These included special requests for photo shoots near the lake of the property or corporate events in the lawns. Groups using of the property for their annual functions included chambers of commerce and trade associations.

Following the implementation of this plan, he said the government believed that sizeable revenue could be generated. However, the maintenance expenditure of the estate will increase with the increased flow of visitors.

Earlier, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was planning to convert the Governor’s House into museum or art gallery. At one point, the government had decided to transform the Governor’s House into a museum, but this proposal was later turned down.

Prime Minister Imran Khan formed a 12-member committee, under the chairmanship of National History and Literary Heritage Department Minister Shafqat Mahmood, to decide over the matter. The committee includes architect Nayyar Ali Dada (Lahore), artist Rashid Rana (Lahore), businessman Shamoon Sultan (Karachi), architect and educator Omer Hassan (Lahore), scientist Dr Faisal Khan (Peshawar), retired civil servant Omer Khan Afridi (Peshawar), designer Naeem Safi (Peshawar), visual artist Akram Dost Baloch (Quetta), educationist Muneeza Hashmi (Lahore), visual artist Adeela Suleman (Karachi), architect Samar Ali Khan (Karachi), heritage consultant Marvi Mazhar, Art Divvy Foundation Director Asma Rashid Khan and National History and Literary Heritage Division Secretary Engineer Amir Hassan. However, the fate of the Punjab Governor has not been formally finalised.

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