MINTO HALL, BHOPAL


Nawab Sultanjahan Begum constructed the Minto Hall of Bhopal in the year 1909, keeping in mind the requirement of a guesthouse near the Raj Bhawan (then called the Lal kothi). The main architect was A. C. Rovan, the main contractors were Armstrong, R. A. Dhondi and Sayyed Ali. A fund of rupees three lakhs was spent over a period of 24 years on this construction. However soon the Minto hall was converted to an army cantonment, which was followed by a period of the hall being used as a convention center. Later a Hotel Lake View was established in the vicinity of Minto Hall during the era of Nawab Hamidullah Khan. For some time offices of the Inspector General of Police, Defense services and Civil services were also established in Minto Hall. 


Abida Sultan, the heir apparent, discovered and refined the new game of roller skates hockey on the floors of Minto hall. In the year 1946 Minto Hall was converted to a college called the Hamidia College, which later moved to its own building. After independence of India the Vidhan Sabha of Madhya Pradesh was established at Minto Hall. The Vidhan Sabha has been since moved to a new building in the year 1996. Since then Minto hall has been lying mainly unused, occasionally being the venue of some exhibition. 


During the year 2005, the central government decided to establish a International Convention Centre hub in view of attracting investment to Bhopal. Bhopal has many plus points which we must leverage -natural beauty, nearness to a major historical site like Sanchi and a hill-station like Pachmarhi. If 'heritage value' can be combined with a 'scenic location', a Convention Centre becomes unbeatable. Minto Hall, the old Vidhan Sabha building on the lakeshore, was chosen for the purpose. The Indian trade promotion organization (ITPO) visited Bhopal for an on-the-spot assessment of Minto Hall for this Convention Centre. Linked with this Convention Centre, we also propose to develop exhibition pavilions, so that major Trade Fairs can take place in Bhopal. A competition was organized for the architecture by EPCO for Government of Madhya Pradesh. The Small Scale Industry of Madhya Pradesh has been appointed the nodal agency for the construction of this convention center. A Five star hotel is also to be constructed, for which two sites has been proposed to Indian trade promotion organization (ITPO) - one in the vicinity of the Minto Hall and another at the Hotel Ashoka Lake View. The ITPO will visit both the locations soon and a venue would be decided upon. A fund of one crore and thirty-four lakhs has been released by the central government for this project as the first installment of the project.

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