Eight years on, Guthi has been barred from leasing land over court caseGuthi estimates a revenue loss of billions of rupees as a result of the case in the Supreme Court that was filed by its own members.
Prithvi Man Shrestha
Guthi Sansthan failed to lease out its land for commercial use in 15 locations over the last eight years which would have helped it earn billions of rupees in revenue. The failure to lease out the land was due to a case filed in the Supreme Court.
On May 5, 2012, the Sansthan had invited a bid for leasing out its land in 15 locations for 20-36 years. The bidding notice also incorporated a plan to lease out one ropani and nine aanas of land belonging to Jangam Math in the Taumadi area of Bhaktapur.
The winning bidders were supposed to construct commercial complexes and rent them out.
But the Sansthan members, led by Bharat Jangam, filed a case at the Supreme Court against the plan.
“First of all, the Sansthan sought to lease out the Guthi land under Jangam Academy, which is not Raj Guthi (State Trust), fully-controlled by Sansthan, without consulting with Guthi members,” said Jangam.
“Secondly, the Sansthan leadership at that time engaged in shady deals to benefit themselves and their political masters.”
Responding to the case, the Supreme Court stayed the lease plan until the final verdict was announced.
The court is yet to announce the final verdict in the case. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for February 26, according to Jangam.
Sansthan officials said they planned to lease out the land for commercial purposes so that they could have a sound income.
“Our estimate at that time was that Sansthan could get around Rs2 billion by leasing out the land,” said Saroj Thapaliya, information officer at Sansthan.
The Sansthan owns more than 35 ropanies of land at Bishnumati Nanak Math area.
“By leaving around 10 ropanies of land for the temple, where Sikh people worship, we had planned to lease out the remaining area to build a commercial complex,” said Thapaliya.
Jangam, meanwhile, claims that his move has stopped a graft deal of Rs250 million orchestrated by the Sansthan officials by planning lease out the land of Bishnumati Nanak Math area.
Although Jangam had knocked at the doors of the court after the Sansthan tried to lease out the land being used by the Guthi members of Jangam Math, it affected the Sansthan’s plan of leasing land in other locations too.
Besides Bishnumati Nanak Math area, Sansthan failed to lease out its land at Makhkhan, Kumarigal, Lazimpat and Lainchaur in Kathmandu.
In addition to the Jangam Math area, another land at Bhaktapur Durbar area was also included in the Sansthan’s lease plan.
Likewise, the Sansthan had planned to lease out the land at Amarkhana, Girinari Kuti, east of the airport, and Dudhmati area inside the Janakpur Sub-Metropolitan City in Dhanusha district.
In Mahottari district, the Sansthan had planned to give the land in two locations at Jaleshwor Municipality on lease. A land inside Dipayal Silgadhi Municipality in Doti district was also part of the lease plan.
Another 20 ropani lands at Bidur Municipality in Nuwakot was also on the list.
“We issued a single notice for leasing out all the land to reduce the cost of the advertisement. So, we failed to use the land commercially in many locations,” said Jangam.