Sadhupul ready to thrive on sadhu’s …
By: Pankaj Sood
Solan: While almost all mega projects – mostly hydro power and cement plants – being set up in Himachal Pradesh are today embroiled in controversies, there is one major project coming up that has the potential to herald a new beginning for sustainable entrepreneurship in the state, though there are uncertainties that cloud the future. So will Baba Randev show us the way to tap the potential of the rich Himalayan biodiversity with his second Patanjali Yogpeeth at Sadhupul, about 27 kms from Solan on the Solan-Chail road?
Though the project has already run into controversies with the Congress party accusing the ruling BJP government of giving away prime land for a commercial venture for peanuts, at least the local people are looking forward to a better future. A total of 96 bighas of land has been leased out by the government of Himachal Pradesh to Patanjali Yogpeeth Trust for this purpose, and the project promises to crate direct employment for at least 1,000 persons. Acharya Balkrishan Yogi, a co-founder of Patanjali Yogpeeth, recently visited Solan and finalized the revenue papers for the 99-year lease deed. The land has been given on Rs 1/- token amount per year, which appears surprising but the government defends its decision claiming that the deal would be beneficial for the state in the long run. The proposed project will be built on Patanjali model already established in Hardwar. The design work has already started and construction work will soon begin at the site. While addressing a gathered at Sadhupul site last week, Baba Ramdev said that they plan to complete the project within a short span of one or one-and-a-half year.
Once a transit resort of Maharaja of Patiala, the Sadhupul Holiday Home is a beautiful mountain property, which was previously held by a NGO called Indira Holiday Home based at Chandigarh. After a long legal battle, the HP government recently got this land back from the said society. The same property along with the land is now being leased out to Patanjali Yogpeeth. Keeping in view the stunning beauty of the place, the government had tried a lot to develop this place as a tourist spot, but never succeeded.
This time people are a little more optimistic, hoping that the project may help them develop agriculture related commercial activities. People here are largely dependent on agriculture, especially cultivation of vegetable like tomatoes. Some species of important herbs and medicinal plants are also found in the forest part of this area. Acharya Balkrishan has recently stated that he found a very rare medicinal plant in Chail valley of the area. Residents hope that the Yogpeeth would help them realize the real potential of their agricultural holdings.
Apart from yoga & ayurveda activities, the proposed Yogpeeth will also host a herbal research center. Teaching & training in the field of yoga and ayurveda, collection, research, production & marketing in the field of herbs and medicinal plants will be added features of the project. According to initial projections, the project, with a starting investment of Rs 50 crore, will provide employment to nearly 1,000 native people directly or indirectly. The Yogpeeth has also decided to establish herb collection centers across the state to collect herbs from framers at their doorstep. These collection centers will collect general herbs at minimum support price to be decided by the government. A MoU on this regard has already been signed separately between the government and the Trust.
This initiative will thus provided Himachali farmers a much needed facility to market Himalayan herbs, forest products and medicinal plants at good price. In Himachal, every year thousands of kilograms of medicinal natural forest products like, alovera, anwla, giloye, ritha, jamun, harad, jatrofa, dalchini, babbol, brahmi, etc go waste due to lack of marketing or right price. Nobody cares to bring these products from forests to the market because of the cost and time involved in it. The government is now expected to declare minimum support price for these types of plants any time this year. Thus, the proposed project is expected to generate, support and develop alternate ways of livelihood and income generation. Experts view that Baba Ramdev’s nation-wide popularity will surely benefit the area in many ways. Once the project is up and running, tourism sector, especially medical and health tourism, is also expected to get a boost.
Himachal has 7.32 percent of the total bio-diversity of the country, which, if exploited scientifically, could benefit the economy of the state. Baba Ramdev has taken lead in starting such a project. In conclusion, it can be said that Baba’s ambitious village & farmers oriented enterprising initiative will show a way to the state how best to use our natural resources for better living while preserving and developing the same.