THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Trivandrum Golf Club, which was taken over by the LDF Government, after a controversy is on its way back into the hands of private management. Justifying a UDF move in this direction, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told a post-Cabinet briefing on Wednesday that the 25-acre course was a drain on the state exchequer and the government was all for ‘practical action’ on the matter. “A final decision is expected shortly,” Chandy said.
“This government’s stand is not the same as that adopted by the last (LDF) government. Is it right to spend the people’s money on playing golf?” he asked, pointing out that the State Government had already shelled out Rs 22 lakh on maintaining the nine-hole course. “Besides, the course is not getting protected properly,” he said.
“The government is for practical action on this issue,” Chandy said. “A system would be worked out where the state would not lose even an inch of its land and its interests would be protected,” he said. According to him, the LDF actions after the take-over was ‘not satisfactory’.
The Law Department had taken a favourable stand on an application filed by the Golf Club office-bearers against a previous Cabinet decision to constitute a sub-committee for the management of the club.
Now, Law Minister K M Mani has stated that the decision of the earlier Cabinet to constitute a sub-committee is ab initio void.In fact, the Club had challenged the earlier order to form the sub-committee before the Court, where a decision is pending.
The State Government and the club signed a licence deed on June 24, 1967, giving the latter the right to run the course for 99 years. On June 1, 2008, the LDF Government attached the course. On June 3, 2008, the High Court termed the government’s action as arbitrary and ordered restoration of the property.
Later, the government issued a fresh show cause notice and after a series of litigations, took possession of the club in September 2010. The Supreme Court, on June 17, 2010, had also ordered that a committee comprising the Chief Secretary, State Sports Council president, Tourism Director, PWD chief engineer and four representatives of the club should manage its affairs.