Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved Ltd is likely to lose the nearly 300 acres of land it has been allotted at the Multi-Model International Passenger and Cargo Hub Airport at Nagpur (MIHAN) complex for a food processing venture, according to state government officials here.
Work on the project, which was announced with great fanfare a few years ago, has come to a halt amidst reports that contractors engaged by the company have not been paid for the work carried out.
“In the past three years only some sheds have been put up and there is no sign of the food processing venture, which was to manufacture juice from Nagpur’s oranges,” a state government official said.
At the time of land allotment in September 2016, Baba Ramdev had told reporters in Nagpur that the project would be up and running in six months’ time.
According to sources, efforts to nudge Patanjali to speed up construction of the food processing unit did not yield results.
“The company cited financial crunch and was planning to obtain some loans from public sector banks to begin construction,” the official said.
However, with surging non-performing assets nationalised banks were wary of lending to Patanjali which planned to use land allotted by the Maharashtra government as collateral for the loans, according to sources.
Most of the land allotted to Patanjali falls in the domestic tariff area of MIHAN Special Economic Zone while around 30 acres fall within the SEZ.
According to information available from sources in Nagpur most of the employees hired for the food processing project quit recently.
The Devendra Fadnavis government had come in for criticism for alloting land to Patanjali at a throwaway price of Rs 25 lakh per acre while the going rate was more than four times more. Fadnavis, who hails from Nagpur, had then justified the deal on the grounds that orange growers who were facing a glut would get relief from the food processing unit proposed by Patanjali.