Published On: January 25, 2022 09:31 AM NPT By: Minraj Bhandari
KATHMANDU, Jan 25: The Pashupati Area Development Trust (PADT) has decided to revoke the agreement reached earlier with Batas Group for the operation of 'Nepal-India Friendship Dharamshala'. The agreement was reached without the approval of the Board of Directors of the PADT.
A meeting of the PADT scheduled for Tuesday will cancel the agreement with Batas, sources said. The agreement with Batas Group to operate Hotel Anand at the Nepal-India Friendship Dharamshala built with an Indian grant assistance of Rs 400 million is being canceled today.
The committee formed to investigate the agreement with Batas Group had also recommended to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation to cancel the agreement. It is stated that the agreement is being canceled based on the same recommendation of the report. The report suggested canceling the agreement stating that it is not good to promote commercial activity by constructing concrete structures in historical sites with cultural heritage.
The committee also claimed that the agreement was illegal and was reached based on a setting. The report had shown that the criteria for the contract was developed in such a way that only Batas Group would meet the criteria.
Sources said that further investigation will be carried out after the cancellation of the agreement as the provisions of the agreement have shown that there may have been a compromise. No action has been taken so far despite the report recommending that action be taken against those who failed to fulfill their official responsibilities while concluding agreements and setting standards with the Batas Group, causing damage to the reputation of the Trust and spreading unauthorized agreements in the media as legal. Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale had said that he would inspect the Dharmashala and take action against the culprits.
It is alleged that the Batas group operating a hotel in the Dharamshala spread over an area of 19 ropanis has not even paid the regular rent. After the cancellation of the agreement, the construction of additional structures in the Dharmashala built without approval will be demolished and the offices of other companies will also be removed.
It was revealed during the inspection that the Batas Group was found keeping a number of beds in the Dharamshala against the agreement and the rate of the bed was much higher than the agreement.
Influencing the political leadership, the Batas Group had constructed many illegal structures inside the Dharmashala including sauna, bathtub, gym, health center and meeting hall. The rent of a room was fixed up to Rs 11,000 per night to pilgrims and religious tourists.
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