Govt forms a panel to probe Batas Group’s involvement in running high priced hotels in Pashupati Dharmashala

Published On: January 8, 2022 05:05 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 8: The government has formed a probe panel to investigate the Batas Group’s unlawful involvement in running hotels in the state-owned Pashupati Dharmashala, a religious rest house targeted for the visitors of Pashupati Temple—one of the biggest Hindu pilgrimage sites.   

According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), a probe committee led by Narayan Prasad Subedi, Chairman of Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT), has been formed to investigate the issue. Aasha Pandey, Bishwokaran Jayan, Devi Prasad Baral and an Under Secretary at the MoCTCA are other members of the committee.

The PADT leased out the Dharmashala to Hotel Ananda Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of Batas Group, three years ago. The group has been accused of running a commercial hotel at the Dharmashala and rampantly charging money from the religious tourists for using it. The group was found to be charging up to Rs 3,000 per night for a two-bed room while the structure has also been used for other commercial purposes such as wedding parties and other celebrations.

The PADT has been found leasing the Dharamsala to Batas Group for 15 years without preparing the legal basis for the lease. The three-storey Pashupati Dharmasala built on 19 ropanis of land area houses 400 beds. The structure was built with Indian assistance at an investment of Rs 340 million.  

A number of misconducts of the Batas Group have come into limelight only recently after the group was found developing illegal structures inside Narayanhiti Palace Museum premises for running a restaurant. By influencing high ranking government officials and political leaders, the group has been illegally infringing public property in many locations to fulfill its vested interest.

Amid criticisms from various quarters, the government authorities have now started demolishing the structure built by Batas Group inside the Narayanhiti Palace area.


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