New Delhi: The NGT on Tuesday granted partial relief to 78 hotels in Mahipalpur that were shut for operating without permission from Delhi Pollution Control Committee and civic agencies. While saying that they can reopen, the bench has imposed several conditions. The establishments must now ensure that all requisite clearances are in place and that their diesel generator sets and sewage treatment plants meet green norms.
The NGT bench imposed the ‘polluter pays’ principle on hotels for violating environmental regulations by drawing groundwater illegally from 30 bore wells. They directed hotels with over 50 beds to pay Rs 5 lakh, those with more than 25 beds to pay Rs 2 lakh and those with fewer than 25 beds to pay Rs 1 lakh as fines for non-compliance till date.
The budget hotels close to IGI airport are most preferred by people on business trips. DPCC had found several lapses in the functioning of these hotels—they had no licence from the municipal corporations since they are on “unauthorized” land and no consent to establish (CTE) or consent to operate (CTO) from DPCC, and they were found to be drawing water from bore wells meant for the community and set up with MLA funds. DPCC officials said seven of the 78 hotels voluntarily offered to close down. The remaining 71 were sealed by DPCC.
On Tuesday, the hotels submitted affidavits saying they will voluntarily shut down until all environmental clearances are in place. NGT had earlier directed them to submit that they will not open their hotels unless they are permitted to. “They will have to apply for the clearances. DPCC will assess the irregularities and, along with IIT Delhi researchers, check if their STP and generator sets are meeting green norms. DJB will also be monitoring groundwater extraction,” said a lawyer representing one of the civic bodies.
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