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Himachal set to take back land from Baba Ramdev

Less than three years after the then ruling BJP gave Baba Ramdev a chunk of prime land on lease in Himachal Pradesh, the state government on Wednesday initiated the process to take it back.

The development is significant as the Congress, then in the opposition, had accused the Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP government of violating statutory provisions in extending favours to Baba Ramdev and Aam Aadmi Party leader Prashant Bhushan and enabling them to purchase land.

‘Instructions have been given to the deputy commissioner to take back the possession of the land allotted to Baba Ramdev in Solan district,’ revenue minister Kaul Singh Thakur said.

He said the cabinet late Tuesday decided to revoke the land lease of the yoga guru as there were violations of land use norms.

The cabinet, presided over by chief minister Virbhadra Singh, took the decision to cancel the allotment of 96.5 bigha of land near Sadhupul in Solan district to Baba Ramdev for setting up a herbal garden and a branch of his Patanjali Yogpeeth. The land originally belonged to the erstwhile royal family of Patiala.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in 2010 gave the land to Patanjali Yogpeeth for a payment of Rs.17 lakh and a 99-year lease at a token annual fee of Re.1.

Reacting to the government’s decision, former chief minister Dhumal said that the land was allotted to Baba Ramdev after following due procedure.
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