BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh government has issued a recovery notice of Rs 35 crore on Gwalior’s elite Jiwaji club for unauthorised commercial use of the property.
“They had been conducting all sort of commercial activities on the club premises without diversion of land as per norms. Moreover, they are not clearing the dues despite repeated notices. The total amount to be recovered from the club is around Rs 35 crore,” Gwalior collector Rahul Jain told TOI.
Some of its old members now claim that the club has been unable to keep off politics and power plays, elitism and aristocracy and they are looking forward to discontinue its membership.
“Earlier we used to spend a good time at this club but for the last two years we avoid visiting it. I don’t tag along families any longer,” says Ranjit Phalke, one of the club members. He also said that undue delay in elections of the club’s executive body members and management of funds has diminished the past glory of this club to a large extent. Its official website too has been hacked and no efforts have so far been made to save it. Club’s president Sunil Khanduja did not respond to repeated calls by this correspondent for his statement on the matter.
This premises was established in 1898 by the Madhav Rao Scindia as ‘Elgin Club’ aimed at gathering eminent people for discussing affairs of the erstwhile state.
Later in 1936, the then ruler of Gwalior estate, Jiwaji Rao Scindia, rechristened this as Jiwaji Club. Jyotiraditya Scindia is currently the chief patron of this club with more than 2000 members.
A commoner can still not be its member because the membership terms are broadly based on financial eminence and social superiority of a person and not on his penchant for service or loftiness of character. A sum of Rs 5 lakh, sound financial background and eminent social status are necessary to become a member of this club, said sources. Membership amounts vary for permanent members and life members.
The club does not earn only from its membership but also from renting out its property for festive celebrations, meetings, symposiums and from facilities including its restaurant, bar room, badminton, billiards, tennis courts and a swimming pool. Despite this, this elegant club of Gwalior has been facing, time and again, utter deficit in its annual budget. A shortfall of Rs 8 lakh has been reported this financial year, said a member wishing anonymity.
Last election of the club was held on January 25, 2015 for two years and therefore the next one was scheduled for January 2017, but to no avail. After objections from some of the members, the current executive body has announced to hold the election on December 17, a delay of 11 months. Interestingly, out of 2300 members only 125 were said to be present in the previous election. Some of the noted city businessmen, including Sangram Singh Kadam, Raju Kukreja, Ashok Gupta and Vinesh Dhingra, are in fray for the post of club’s president this year.