February 4, 2009 2:46:28 am
Yogi Divine Society had mortgaged government land to secure building loan
The Rajkot district collector’s office has served a showcause notice to Yogi Divine Society for breach in trust deed. The society,which is run by Sarvoday Kelavani Samaj (SKS),is a prestigious educational trust in the region that runs a chain of schools and colleges. The notice has called for an explanation why their office premises should not be confiscated.
At the heart of the controversy is the state-of-art and self-financed Atmiya Institute of Technology on Kalawad Road. The trust had allegedly mortgaged the land given by the government to obtain a loan to construct the building. The college building was inaugurated in 2007.
The total land at issue is over 23 acres,which was given to the trust on a token rate. At present,its price is valued at a whopping Rs 485 crore. The trust has been primarily accused of making changes in its board,starting commercial activities and mortgaging land to secure loan for constructing the college.
The SKS,headed by Swami Hariprasad,is one of the two most powerful sub sects of the Swaminaryan sect in Gujarat,the other being Boachasanvasi Akashar Purshottam Sansthan (BAPS) headed by Pramukh Swami. The SKS is headquartered at Sokhada village in Vadodara district. At present,at the sprawling campus on Kalawad Road,Vidhya Vihar High School,School of Science,Viran Art,Science and Computer Science College and Atmiya Institute of Technology have been functioning.
According to top officials at the collectors office,legal action is not ruled out against the trust in the near future for trust deed violation,encroachment on government land with self financed college and a hostel,and for mortgaging government land.
The district administration says the trust was given the land in 1966 from the government wasteland on Kalawad Road to run a school and a science college. But today,on the same land,along with a school and a science college,there stands a self-financed engineering college with an elite hostel.
The collectorate,in its report,has also pointed out that the trust,in 2002,had secured loans to the tune of nearly Rs 20 crore from different nationalised banks by mortgaging land allotted to the science college.
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