Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday defended his government’s decision to reduce lease money on land allotted to Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth and said the project would enhance the economy of the state.

Replying to allegations of Congress leaders on the issue, he said the Yogpeeth had submitted a proposal to set up a project at Kandaghat in Solan district in 2019 and he was allocated land near Sadhupul in 2010.

But the Congress party, after coming into power, cancelled the land lease in 2013 after which Patanjali Yogpeeth filed a petition in the High Court against the government’s decision.

In February 2017, the government asked Baba Ramdev’s trust to withdraw the petition and told the trust that the decision of cancellation of the land lease would only be reviewed after that, he said.

Thakur said the BJP government followed the process started by the previous Congress government and in fact, the lease money was reduced as per the HP Land Lease Rules 2016.

“There was no violation of rules in the case,” he added.

He said the project would provide employment opportunities to locals and train the youth of the state in ‘Panchkarma’ courses. The trust also plans to grow medicinal herbs and give training to farmers in its farming, thereby helping in boosting the financial status of the farming community, he added.