New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party-led state government in Haryana has given nine acres of land in Kurukshetra to Gita Gyan Sansthanam, to develop a Gita Research Cenre – an academic and meditation centre, a library and an auditorium, reported the Indian Express.
Construction of the auditorium and library is already underway, and President Ram Nath Kovind is going to lay the foundation stone of the research centre on Saturday, besides inaugurating a fortnight-long International Gita Jayanti event.
The Indian Express has accessed records revealing that in 2015, six acres of land on the road leading to Brahma Sarovar in Kurukshetra, in possession of the Kurukshetra Development Board (KDB), was given to Sri Gyananandji Maharaj-led Gita Sansthanam at Rs 5 lakh per acre on an annual lease of 99 years. Official government records have pegged the land’s value at Rs 50 lakh per acre then. The current price is estimated to be Rs 6 crore per acre.
The governor of Haryana, who is the ex-officio chairman of KDB, has also leased additional three acres of adjoining land to the Gita Sansthanam in December 2016. The Sansthanam presented the project plan to KDB and requested the governor for the additional land.
“The land is given to us by KDB in 2015 and remaining portion in December last year at a rate of Rs 5 lakh per acre. It was given on an annual lease for a period of 99 years and not for the purpose of ownership. The land is not given for the purpose of registration deed. It is given on lease and thus does not fall under the ambit of Collector rate. President of India is coming to inaugurate the centre this Saturday,” Hansraj Singla, trustee of Gita Gyan Sansthanam told the Indian Express.
State governments in the past have also given away land in prime locations to trusts and religious organisations. Since 2002, there have been 16 instances of the Haryana government giving away land to such organisations at different rates.
It is not just the present BJP-led government which is under media scrutiny for undervaluing prime land and giving it away to religious bodies and trusts. In 2014, the Indian Express reported, then Haryana government, led by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress, gave away six acres of land in Kurukshetra to ISKCON at Rs 38 lakh per acre to build a temple.