Accusing the government of granting 'undue favours' in regularisation of an illegal hotel in Badog of Solan district, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday staged a walkout from the assembly, alleging misuse of Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Reforms Act, 1972.
The opposition members questioned the Congress government for favouring a woman hotelier in regularising Corinus Hotel Hutments, which had come up in violation of the act.
Replying to a question by BJP members Mohinder Singh, Ravinder Singh and Satpal Satti, on permissions granted under Section 118, revenue minister Kaul Singh said since the hotel had already come up, the cabinet had given permission to the owner of the hotel in interest of the tourism promotion in the state.
“Besides, the permission was also granted on humanitarian grounds, since the owner of the hotel was a woman,” said Kaul Singh. Section 118 of the act only allows the permanent residents of the state to buy land, while others, who want land for non-agricultural purposes, have to seek permission from the state government.
However, agitated Opposition leader sought a clarification from the government. Leader of the opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal alleged that Congress government had also granted the permission for regularisation of the same hotel in the year 2007.
“The then deputy commissioner Solan was directed to regularise the hotel after realising a fine of Rs 2 lakh even as there was no such provision in the Act,” alleged Dhumal, adding that the BJP after coming into power had vested the property with the government.
The present government, Dhumal asked, gave how much permission under section 118 to the women on humanitarian grounds. BJP legislator from Kasauli Rajiv Saijal alleged that the government had failed to promote the hotel run by its own tourism department, a hotel that has came up in violation of the rules, had been regularised.
“What kind of tourism promotion the government is talking about?” he asked. Later, dissatisfied by the reply of the minister, BJP staged a walkout raising slogans 'Himachal on sale'.
Condemning the walkout, the revenue minister informed the House that the government, from December 25, 2012 to October 31, 2014 had given 420 permissions under the Section and most of them being non-farmers.
He alleged that previous BJP government had mostly granted permissions to non-Himachali people and allowed them to open private universities. “The previous government also provided land to Baba Ramdev in violation of norms, which has been vested with government in Congress rule,” he added.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference during the lunch-break, Dhumal alleged that since the woman hotelier was a Congress party member, the government extended undue favours to her by legalizing the hotel.