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Himachal may restore land to Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Trust

Archana Phull | Shimla |

In a significant development, the Himachal Pradesh cabinet on Friday decided to consider the request of Yoga Guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust to review its four-year-old order of cancellation of 28 acre government land allotted to it, provided the Trust withdraws the CWP filed in the high court.

The Trust, which had by then invested Rs.11 crore on the land allotted to it, had filed petition in the high court, alleging serious discrepancies in the state government’s move to cancel the lease in February 2013. On this, the high court had stayed the government action at the facility created on the land allotted to the Trust and had stopped the police to take possession of the land.

The lease of land to Ramdev’s Trust in Solan district by the previous BJP government was at the centre of state politics during the assembly polls in 2012.

The land was allotted in favour of Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust, Haridwar (Uttarakhand) for establishing a branch of Yog and Ayurved-related Medical Science Research and Health, Tourism and production of herbal medicinal plants at Sadhu Pul in Solan. The lease agreement for 99 years involved a payment of Rs.17 lakh by the Ramdev Trust, along with a token payment of Rupee one per annum during the lease period.

However, as soon as the Congress party came to power in the state in December 2012, its government cancelled Trust’s lease agreement, causing furore in several sections of people, especially locals in surrounding villages.

The Congress party, while in opposition in Himachal, had listed this as a major point in its chargesheet against the then BJP government.

Cancelling the agreement in February 2013, the Congress government had claimed that the land rules were violated in the grant of lease to Ramdev’s Trust.

Earlier this week, Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh had taken a ‘U turn’, holding that no irregularity had been found in the allotment of land granted on lease to Ramdev’s Trust.

Singh said the government had looked at the issue afresh and had reached on the conclusion that there was no violation.

 “The part of land where the Yoga Guru proposes to invest is barren. There is nothing wrong in it if the state gets some investment that benefits Himachal Pradesh and its people,” Singh said, as he recalled that he (Singh) hosted Ramdev’s yoga camp at Hamirpur at his personal expense and also attended it some years ago.