Excellent Order- OBE
( Title of Office of British Empire) after 24 years by
“There were so many lockdowns and we are still in lockdown, so we have kept
in touch with our customers, held on to our staff and looked after them as they
are key people to the tourism industry,” Lord Rana
The Indian-born hotelier has committed to Belfast’s hospitality industry, created thousands of jobs during the troubled times when many entrepreneurs left Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Back in his home state Punjab, he founded a Trust in 2001 and built an educational
Complex Cordia Group of Educational Institutes at Sanghol (Ucha Pind), (residential cum day scholars)
(www.cordia.edu.in), offering education, starting with a play school and Plus two school, institution of
higher education offering graduate and post-graduate courses in arts, science, commerce, business administration and management, and the hospitality and tourism management., shall be training rural unemployed youth of four districts of Punjab in various trades, under the scheme of Deen Dayal Upadhyay of Ministry of rural development, to make them employable.
He has plans to establish Lord Rana International University, at Sanghol, pending the nod of Punjab Government.
His commitment to transforming rural Punjab through educational development, his Trust has been funding education to bring it within the reach of students from rural areas with an initial investment of Rs.50 crores (£5million) for his educational project.
Lord Rana, the Chairman of Andras House Ltd, has been bestowed with the OBE title and honoured with listing in the New Year Honours list for services to business, and to the economy in Northern Ireland. On this occasion, he said, “I feel greatly honoured, it is totally unexpected. “We have been living in Belfast
for the last 54 years and my commitment has always been to Northern Ireland and the city of Belfast. We have seen a lot of change over the years and hopefully, we are going into better times. Brexit has made things difficult as we were doubtful as to how it would turn out but I think the (post-trade) agreement has finally given us some hope.”
“We look forward to better times, and my commitment and company’s commitment has always been here, never stopped investing in Belfast, whether it was the banking crash, and all the Troubles we experienced in the 1970s and 80s when other people thought it was madness to build a hotel in Belfast. I was the first one to build a new hotel which opened in 1990.”
“After the Europa (hotel) nobody built a hotel in Belfast. Now we own eight hotels and brought international brands to Belfast. I have been here since 1966, first working in restaurants then onto hotels. The most difficult time was the Troubles but then the second most difficult period has been this year. We would never have imagined what is happening.”
The hospitality sector has been one of the biggest casualties throughout the pandemic, with restrictions forcing thousands of hotels, restaurants and bars to close.
Lord Rana said while it’s been one of the most difficult years for his business. Notwithstanding the difficulties, all though he has been in contact with his customers, kept many of his employees in their respective jobs.
By YS.Rana: Principal Correspondent.