PDA seals 28 hotels for violating HC directive

SHABIR AHMAD. Dated: 10/23/2013 10:35:38 AM

Many A-class hotels procure prefab STPs

SRINAGAR, Sep 22 :Tightening its noose around the hoteliers operating without pollution
control devices including sewage treatment plants (STPs) at the world famous tourist spot of Pahalgam, Pahalgam development authority PDA, the main nodal agency for the development of the place today sealed 28 more hotels found carrying on their business in violation of the court
The division of the high court last week had ordered the suspension of commercial operation of all those hotels in Pahalgam which were running without STPs. The court had directed the PDA and Pollution Control Board to implement its directive. Following the court orders PDA served notices to 83 hoteliers asking them to suspend their operation.
On the basis of the complaints about the hoteliers carrying on their business normally, the checking squad of the PDA today inspected various hotels and found them violating the court directive. “We sealed at least 28 hotels including many A-class hotels which were found operating in violation of the directive. Many hotels sealed for violations belong to influential people. Despite pressures from political and bureaucratic circles we sealed them,” said an official
of the PDA.
He said that they are being pressurised from different quarters not to touch the hotels owned by many rich people.
“We are trying to implementing the HC order in letter. The inspection of the hotels will continue even tomorrow to check the violations,” the official said.
However, sources said that many A-class hotels are operating normally despite having been served the notices. “Though some A-class hotels were sealed for violations but many others are operating normally. No PDA official has dared to visit those hotels after notices were served
to them,” sources said.
They also said that few A-class hotels after being served the notices have procured the STPs and are going to install them in next few days.
The procurement of the STPs by these hoteliers have created division among the hoteliers with many others insisting for the community STP.
“Though the hoteliers after the HC directive had decided that they will not install their own STPs but will insist the government to connect them to the community STP under construction in the town. However, 3 to 4 hoteliers abiding by the court directive have purchased the STPs and are in the process of connecting them,” sources said.
They said that the hoteliers having procured the STPs are waiting for the high court nod to install their STPs. “To connect the STP hotel has to be functional. So until and unless there is any directive from the court we cannot install them,” said a hotelier.
“We had warned them through the notices not to carry on their business in violation of norms. The high court also toughened its stand on the suspension pollution caused by the hoteliers at tourist places and directing them to suspend their commercial operation,” Pahalgam Development Authority CEO, PDA, Riyaz Ahmad said while confirming the sealing of hotels for violations.
“Our team during the raids on many hotels found them carrying on their business. All the 28 hotels were sealed,” CEO said.
On the allegations of pick and choose, CEO said, he is trying his best to apply the directive of the court on every violator. He, however, refused to comment on the pressures from different quarters.



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