Ramdev ‘land allotment’ issue rocks Haryana assembly

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Chandigarh, March 9 (IANS) The issue of “land allotment” to Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogpeeth in Morni Hills near Chandigarh rocked the Haryana assembly on Thursday with opposition members alleging that the BJP government was showing undue favour to the yoga guru.

While the Manohar Lal Khattar regime defended itself on the issue, saying that only a MoU was signed with Ramdev for development of the World Herbal Park and no land allotment was done to him, legislators of the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was favouring him.

This led to uproarious scenes in the house, forcing adjournments thrice in the day.

Clarifying the government’s stand, Health Minister Anil Vij said that Ramdev “will only offer free consultation for the development of a herbal forest in Morni area”.

“He will neither take any financial or commercial benefit from this project, nor would he have right of ownership of the land. The Congress had been trying to mislead the people on this issue,” he said.

Vij said that a MoU had been signed between the Haryana government and Patanjali Research Institute, Haridwar, for development of this forest.

“There is no such provision in the MoU under which it could be said that the ownership rights of land of Morni have been given to Baba Ramdev and Patanjali Research Institute, Haridwar, or any of his associates. The ownership and jurisdiction of the entire land of Morni would remain as such with the persons concerned or the Forest Department,” he clarified.

The minister said that the herbal forest, which would be the first of its kind in the world, was being developed in Morni hills keeping in view the environment and biodiversity of the area.

“Apart from conserving the trees already growing in this area, about 25,000 medicinal plants and herbs found across the country would be planted in this forest and clusters of various medicinal plants would be established. This herbal forest would prove to be a good platform for doctors and scientists associated with ayurveda, where they would gather information and conduct research on medicinal plants,” Vij said.

He said that Patanjali Research Institute would assist in identifying plants, selecting adequate land for plantation, drawing map of vegetation, preparing list of species of plants, conducting field-wise tests of soil, preparing models and providing scientific assistance in destroying weeds.

“The state government is trying to develop the forest as a special forest with the help of encyclopedia of plants prepared by Patanjali Research Institute,” he added.

The Morni Hills area is located about 20 km from Chandigarh

–IANS

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