The Maharashtra state government has allotted more than 600 acres of land to the Patanajli Yogpeeth, run by yoga guru Baba Ramdev, for setting up an orange processing plant and units for its ayurvedic products.
Union transport minister and MP from Nagpur, Nitin Gadkari, guardian minister for Nagpur district Chandrasekhar Bawankule and Balkrishna of Pantanjali Yogpeeth signed an MoU with the state government on Friday which handed over 200 acres in Katol, Nagpur district, for the processing plant and 450 acres in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in the MIHAN region for its ayurvedic products.
Gadkari has also tasked the yoga guru with undertaking research in sources of natural medicines found abundantly in Vidarbha’s tribal areas and remote terrains. The move is aimed at boosting development of tribal areas and generate employment opportunities in the Maoist-hit Gadchiroli district.
Patanjali, which is known for its personal care products and food and beverage, will invest over Rs 2,000 crore for its proposed ventures in the region.
The project is expected to start as soon as land and other facilities are provided to Patanjali Yogpeeth. According to the proposal, Patanjali will buy forest products like amla, honey, aloe vera and gooseberries in bulk from the rich forest reserves of Vidarbha region to make its products.
The opposition however has accused the government of blatant favouritism in tying up with the company, saying the allotted land was given at a concessional rate.
Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said if the government really had plans of promoting forest produce, it could have issued advertisements or floated tenders. This was the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to usurp forest lands, he charged.
The allotted SEZ land is part of the investment heavy Multi Modal International Passenger and Cargo Hub in Nagpur.