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LBSNAA turns Sixty

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By ABHAI MISHRA

The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) turned sixty on 1 September, 2019. It was set up in 1959 at the erstwhile Charleville Estate in Mussoorie. The Charleville Hotel was probably the oldest and the grandest of all in Mussoorie during the second half of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. This can very well be understood from the fact that when Mary of Tech, ‘Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales’ (later Queen Mary) visited Mussoorie in 1906, she preferred Charleville over the Savoy Hotel. The history of the Charleville estate can be traced back to 1842 when the initial building was constructed. The land at that time belonged to the Mahants of Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar, Dehradun. General Wilkinson purchased the land from them in 1854 and constructed further buildings. Some part of the building was used to run a girl’s school. The property was sold by General Wilkinson to the Manager of the Mussoorie Bank, Mr Hobson in 1861. The names of Hobson’s two sons were Charlie and Willie. In 1877, he opened the hotel with the name ‘Charleville’ based on his sons’ names. After the death of Hobson, the Mussoorie Bank leased the property to Messrs T. Fitch & C Stowell in 1884. In 1887, the owners once again changed and Wutzler acquired it. By the turn of the twentieth century, Charleville had 112 rooms and claimed to be the largest hotel in India outside Bombay. Rudyard Kipling stayed there in 1988 during the time of Henry Wutzler and wrote the following verse – ‘And there were men with a thousand wants And women with babes galore — But the dear little angels in Heaven know That Wutzler never swore.” At some point of time, the hotel had out-office accommodation for 400 servants and stables for 50 horses. The total area of the estate was 25 acres. The importance of the hotel can also be ascertained from the fact that a post office functioned in the premises with the name “Charleville Hotel”. The famous brewer of Mussoorie, Mackinnon, acquired the Happy Valley property in 1904 and established Happy Valley Club with numerous facilities and a host of activities. After Independence, the property was acquired by the Government of India. The National Academy of Administration was established in Charleville Hotel Estate on 1 September 1959 with the merging of the IAS Training School, Metcalf House, Delhi, and IAS Staff College, Shimla, for the training of Civil Services recruits. The post office name was changed to “NAA”. It was renamed as “Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration” in October 1972 and, then, in July 1973 as “Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration”. During a major fire in 1984, the historic building of Charleville Hotel was gutted. At present, the Academy functions under the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions. A common Foundation Course is held for entrants to All India Services and all Group ‘A’ services of the Union. The professional training to regular recruits of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and members of the Royal Bhutan Service is conducted after the Foundation Course. The Academy also conducts in- service and Mid-Career training programme (MCTP) for members of the IAS and Induction training programme for officers promoted to the IAS from State Civil Services, as well as workshops and seminars on policy issues. In 2009, to commemorate 50 years of the Academy, a commemorative postage stamp was issued by the postal department.