NGT clears decks for reopening of hotels near IGI Airport

Over 70 budget hotels near IGI airport here can heave a sigh of relief as the National Green Tribunal has cleared the decks for their reopening after they were shut down for lack of requisite permissions.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar passed a slew of directions after Mahilpalpur ssociation of hotels and guest houses filed an affidavit stating they would voluntarily close down and file fresh application before the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for Consent to Operate.

Applying the “polluter pays” principle to hotels/guest houses for operating without permission from Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and other departments it also imposed a fine on them which will be used for restoration of environment in the area.

It directed hotels with over 50 rooms to pay Rs 5 lakh, those with more than 25 rooms Rs 2 lakh and those having less than 25 rooms Rs 1 lakh as compensation.

“All the hotel and guest house owners in that area agree that they would voluntarily close their activities and would not operationalise any unit till they satisfy the directions issued by the Tribunal.

“We direct the SDM, police authorities and DPCC to ensure that none of these units operate commercially till the time they are granted consent to operate by DPCC in accordance with law and subject to compliance of the directions of the Tribunal,” the bench said.

The green panel directed all the hotels to move a fresh application for consent to operate within two weeks or any such other period which “applicants consider appropriate”.

“They will file application which shall be accompanied by all requisite documents and should be complete in all respect.

Within one week of receipt of this application, DPCC shall inform deficiency or any other document that applicants are required to file within two weeks thereafter,” it said.

During the hearing, advocate Balendu Shekhar, appearing for SDMC said requisite permissions to these hotels can only be given after they get water connections and they install STPs.

Advocate Sanjeev Rally, appearing for DPCC, assured the bench that the applications for Consent to Operate would be dealt with expeditiously in accordance with law. 

The bench said the hotels which have already filed application for consent to operate shall be informed about the deficiency of documents by DPCC within two weeks from the date of the order.

“The application will be considered and consent to operate will be granted or refused by DPCC in accordance with law within two weeks thereafter. The entire process should be completed within six weeks,” the bench said.

The Tribunal said the hotels would be at liberty to move the SDMC, Delhi Jal Board, CGWA and the police authority for grant of NOC/license and “if such applications are moved we expect them to deal with them expeditiously”, the bench said, adding, “each applicant shall submit a security bond of Rs 5 lakh each for a period of one year within one week”.

“The hotels which have been sealed, their seal would be opened by the SDMC subject to the compliance of the above conditions,” it said. 

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