Shimla: Congress on Thursday held a lease deed for handing over government land to Baba Ramdevâ€™s Patangili Yogpeeth invalid saying that it had been signed by Acharya Balkrishna, whose very nationality was under a cloud.
Party spokesman Mukesh Agnihotri showed documents to the media secured under RTI that the lease deed for 97 bighas of land in Solan district was signed by the controversial Acharya.
Whereas the land was originally marked for the education department who used to hold NCC camps on it, but the state government decided to lease it out to a trust run by Baba Ramdev for setting up a herbal garden in 2010. The garden is still to come on the land.
Accusing the government of pandering to the interests of outsiders at the cost of state residents, Agnihotri demanded cancellation of the land lease deed to Baba Ramdev.
He said that the government was hiding details of several land deals taking place in the state and not revealing the facts.
â€œChief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has stated that the government plans to acquire Bentony Estate, located in central part of the city but a sale agreement for Rs 45 Cr for the property has already been signed with a United Kingdom based businessman Ranjay Trehan,â€ said Agnihotri.
â€œWhats more,â€ he added, the government has also received a Rs 38 Cr project hotel proposal for Bentony Castle and applications for obtaining several clearances have also been submitted.â€
The government needs to come clear as to what stand it holds about this heritage property, bang on The Mall Road,â€ said the congressman.
â€œDoes the government intend to acquire it or are there vested interests who are pushing through this Rs 83 Cr project and the government is hoodwinking the public on the matter, he said?
Agnihotri also mentioned that in the Vidhan Sabha the government had said that it was conducting an inquiry about sale of a large piece of land at Rampur Keontal, a Shimla suburb.
The general perception is that Himachal is on sale and the government is not doing enough to protect the land of the state residents.