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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

Himachal govt takes control of Ramdev's Solan land

Arvind Kashyap, Hindustan Times  Solan, February 22, 2013
First Published: 16:57 IST(22/2/2013) | Last Updated: 11:13 IST(23/2/2013)

Three days after the Congress government in Himachal Pradesh decided to cancel the land lease to yoga guru Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Yogpeeth, the Solan district administration on Friday took possession of the land and buildings of the trust at Sadhupul, about 35 km from here.

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The previous BJP government in the state had leased out around 20-acre (96.2 bighas) land at Kehlog village along the Kandaghat-Chail state highway to Acharya Balkrishan, Ramdev's aide and a trustee of Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar, by charging lease money of Rs. 17.31 lakh. It was mentioned in the lease agreement dated February 2, 2010, that the yogpeeth's trustee would pay Re 1 as token money every month to the government for 99 years. The current market value of the land is about Rs. 35 crore.

On Friday, Solan superintendent of police (SP) Ramesh Chhajta, additional deputy commissioner CP Verma, Kandaghat subdivisional magistrate (SDM) LR Verma and revenue officials arrived at Sadhupul amid tight security. They urged Ramdev's followers and yogpeeth workers to peacefully hand over the possession of the land and buildings. After a long discussion, the SDM served a notice on yogpeeth's district co-incharge Rameshwar Dutt Kaushik.

The notice stated that the competent authorities, through an order dated February 21, had revoked the land lease. "You are, hereby, directed to hand over the possession of land and buildings immediately to the subdivisional magistrate as per the directions of the district magistrate," the notice added.

The SDM said, "In accordance with the government order, we have taken possession of the land and buildings in a peaceful manner and sealed the premises."

Solan SP Ramesh Chhajta said, "We did not face any law and order problem, but still a posse of policemen has been deployed at the spot to prevent any untoward incident."

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