Thiruvananthapuram, May 2 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday said the previous government’s decision to take over the Trivandrum Golf Club was not correct and he was not in favour of public money being used to run a golf club.
Replying to a question whether his government was going to take a different stand to the previous Left government on the Trivandrum Golf Club, when it took over the club in 2010, Chandy said: “I am of the firm opinion that ‘people’s money’ cannot be used to run and maintain a golf club.”
He said the state exchequer had spent Rs.2.2 million till now after the club was taken over. “After carefully looking into the manner in which the affairs of the club was run, we have found out that the decision by the previous left government to take over the club was not correct.”
When newsmen persisted with the question if he was going to hand over the club back to the members, he replied: “Please I have no clue of the game golf, may be if it was some other game, I could have tried,” which left everyone in laughter.
The V.S. Achuthanandan government, after a nearly three-year-long protracted legal battle and armed with the June 17, 2010, apex court interim judgment, took over the Trivandrum Golf Club (TGC) situated in the heart of the capital city, on June 26 that year.
In the apex court interim judgment, it had said that a committee headed by the state chief secretary should manage day-to-day affairs of the club and also meet the expenses of maintaining it.
“In no way can the government exchequer maintain a club like this and all of you please wait for some more time till we come with a suitable method on how this club can be run. At the same time I wish to state that in no way will an inch of government land be given away to anyone,” added Chandy.
The 9-hole golf course spread over 25 acres was established by the royal family of Travancore in 1850. On Nov 11, 1966, the course was handed over to the club under licence for 99 years.
The club currently has 600 members coming from the elite section of the society.
One of the provisions of the licence says that 30 years after the grant of licence, the state government could terminate it after giving notice.