Himachal government cancels land lease of Ramdev`s trust

The Himachal Pradesh government is understood to have cancelled the land lease of yoga teacher Ramdev`s Patanjali Yogpeeth.

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2013, 23:45 PM IST

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh government is understood to have cancelled the land lease of yoga teacher Ramdev`s Patanjali Yogpeeth sanctioned by the previous BJP regime.

About 28 acres of land near Sadhupul in Solan district was given to Patanjali Yogpeeth by the BJP government in 2010 for a token lease of Rs 1 per year for a period of 99 years and Congress then in opposition had vehemently opposed the land lease.

The matter was reportedly discussed in a Cabinet meeting here today and a decision was reportedly taken to "cancel" the land lease, highly placed sources in the government said.

The land with estimated market value at Rs 30 to 35 crore is located midway between Kandaghat and Chail, 50 kms from here and was donated by the family of former Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh in 1956 for setting up Indira holiday home for children.

Congress and Amrinder Singh had been demanding cancellation of land lease maintaining that the lease was sanctioned in violation of rules and norms and the government had transgressed its powers on the issue.

The state cabinet reportedly termed the decision of previous BJP government led by P K Dhumal government as an undue favour to Ramdev besides it being illegal and beyond the power of the government.

The move may cause a blow to Ramdev who is scheduled to arrive at Sadhupul on February 27 to inaugurate the first phase of the project.

"It was a highly illegal and unauthorised action of the BJP government and preliminary enquiry instituted by the government has proved that the land cannot be transferred for commercial purpose and the lease was signed in name of Archarya Balkrishan whose nationality was being probed by CBI," state Revenue Minister Kaul Singh Thakur had said earlier this month.

State in-charge of Bharatiya Swabhiman Trust, Lakshmi Dutt Sharma, said that he was not aware of any decision regarding cancellation of the land lease and that the Trust had already spent Rs 7.50 crore on construction of the first phase.

"We welcome the probe announced by the state government. No violation has been committed in land allotment as the actual owner of land is the government. Apprehension that Achraya Balkrishan is a citizen of Nepal too is not right as a Haldwani court has declared him as an Indian citizen," he said.