KATHMANDU, Jan 26: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Prem Bahadur Ale has decided to terminate the contract regarding the operation of the Nepal-India Friendship Pashupati Dharmashala (rest house) for pilgrims.
At a press meet held at the ministry on Tuesday, Minister Ale informed the media that the contract signed earlier with the Batas Group for the operation of the rest house has been terminated. Minister Ale further shared that the termination of the contract for the operation of the rest house was made through a ministry-level decision.
“We took the decision to scrap the contract acting on the recommendation of a probe committee. With this, the Batas Group will not operate the Dharmashala”, he explained.
A probe committee formed under the coordination of Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) Treasurer Narayan Subedi had submitted a report to the minister recommending the scrapping of the contract, citing unscrupulous deal while renting out the Dharmashala.
The Pashupati rest house had come into operation after contract signing between the PADT and Hotel Ananda Pvt Ltd under the Batas Group. The Batas Group has been accused of charging high prices to the clients at Dharmashala which was constructed by the PADT with the Indian government assistance to serve Pashupati pilgrims.
Minster Ale had made an on-site inspection of Dharmashala after a public allegation came to light. The inspection team found differences in the number of beds during construction and while signing the contract, changes made in hotel rate, no payment of rent to the PADT, setting up of various offices at Dharmashala and construction of various structures without PADT’s approval.