Himachal Chief Secretary Sudripto Roy on Thursday clarified that entry of yoga guru Baba Ramdev is not banned in the hill State and put to rest all rumours in this regard.

Baba Ramdev is expected to visit the State to inaugurate the second phase of his Patanjali Yogpeeth being made in Sadhupul on Kandaghat-Chail road in Solan district. His followers are planning protests if the yoga guru is not allowed to open the newly constructed Herbal Centre in Himachal which is providing self-employment to thousands of locals, said Lakshmi Dutt Sharma of the Bharat Swabhiman Trust.   

Earlier this week, the State Cabinet headed by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had decided to cancel the 28-acre land lease given to the Patanjali Yogpeeth. The land on 99-year lease was given by the previous BJP regime. The Government has issued instructions to the Deputy Commissioner to take back the land from the possession of Yogpeeth which was given on a payment of Rs.17 lakh and a token annual fee of Re.1 in 2010.

Ramdev was to construct a Yoga Centre and establish herbal garden in the allotted land. He had also promised to buy huge quantities of apple juice concentrate, milk and other local produce including herbs from Himachal that are used in the Ayurvedic medicines.

The foundation stone was laid by Ramdev on June 20, 2010, and a Yoga Centre worth crores has been constructed on the spot. The yoga guru is scheduled to inaugurate it on February 27.

The State Revenue Department, after an investigation into the issue, is claiming large-scale irregularities in the land allotment, although former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has maintained that a proper procedure had been followed in the allocation of land to the Yogpeeth. The incumbent government is either re-naming or re-launching the earlier schemes or it is just cancelling the ongoing projects of the last regime, he said.

While mocking at Mr Virbhadra Singh in Hamirpur, Mr. Dhumal said the Chief Minister who has failed to bring even a single penny from his party’s government at the Centre to the fund-starved State is busy cancelling the ongoing employment generating projects of the State.

Revenue Minister Kaul Singh Thakur has disclosed that Ramdev’s Trust is a commercial organisation and his aide Swami Balkrishan in whose name the lease was signed is of Nepalese origin. The land in question had originally belonged to the erstwhile royal house of Patiala in Punjab and was later given to the State Government.

More In: NEW DELHI | NATIONAL