Himachal to restore land allotted to Baba Ramdev

Shimla: Four years after cancelling the allotment of a chunk of prime land to yoga guru Baba Ramdev, the Himachal Pradesh government on Friday decided to restore the land to him — albeit with a rider — for setting up a branch of Patanjali Yogpeeth, the government said.

The Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, decided to consider the Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust’s request to review the lease cancellation decision if the trust withdraws its petition challenging the government decision from the high court, a government statement said.

It said the trust is proposed to establish a branch of yoga and ayurveda-related medical science research and health, tourism and production of herbal medicinal plants at Mauza Kalhog in Kandaghat tehsil in Solan district.

Official sources said the Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust had written to the Chief Minister last month to renew the lease of the 28-acre land.

The Chief Minister had already clarified a few days back that the state law and revenue departments had examined the issue and the matter would be placed before the cabinet shortly.

The present Congress government in February 2013 took back the possession of the land allotted to Baba Ramdev in 2010 by the then BJP government, citing violations of statutory provisions in land allotment.

The entire property, comprising a building raised by the Baba Ramdev’s trust, had been vacated and returned to the custody of the government.

At the time of vesting the property, Patanjali Yogpeeth’s first phase was completed at a cost of Rs 7.5 crore.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government gave the land to the yoga guru for a one-time lease payment of Rs 17 lakh for 99 years at a token annual fee of Re 1.

The order issued to Patanjali Yogpeeth had said, “The government has revoked the lease so granted and you are no more lessee of the land. You are, therefore, directed to hand over the possession of the land and the buildings immediately to the undersigned as per the directions of the district magistrate of Solan.”