Counsel appearing on behalf of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) submitted before the tribunal that of the 32 restaurants and hotels in Hauz Khas village, 20 have applied for consent to operate. Of the 20 applicant restaurants and hotels, DPCC was satisfied with the measures taken by eight of them and granted them consent to operate. But consent for the remaining 12 restaurants has still not been granted.
“We make it clear that in respect of the said remaining 12 restaurants/hotels, DPCC shall pass orders on merit in accordance with law within a period of two weeks from today. We also make it clear that if the DPCC refuses to grant consent to operate in respect of any of these 12 restaurants, such restaurants shall not proceed to operate their business and DPCC shall ensure the same,” said a bench headed by justices P Jyothimani and M S Nambiar. The bench gave one week time to the 12 restaurants to apply for consent to operate.
The bench also asked DPCC to file a status report in respect of each of the restaurants/hotels in Hauz Khas village by the next date of hearing—February 6.
NGT had earlier shut down all eateries in Hauz Khas village for five days after it was found that they did not have consent to operate and have been discharging their waste untreated. Hauz Khaz village houses several high-end boutiques and eateries.
Pankaj Sharma, former resident of the village and head of a non-profit Centre for Transforming India, had filed a petition before the NGT in July 2013, highlighting the absence of sewage disposal and severe air pollution caused by power generators in the area. Sharma, in his petition, has listed 33 restaurants which have been violating various norms under the Environmental Protection Act and Air and Water Pollution Act.
During the course of inspections in July and August, DPCC officials found that only one restaurant in the area was following the rules. However, the tribunal on September 25 granted “conditional approval” to operate only to those eateries that had installed effluent treatment plants or were in the process of installing them, but clarified that the permission to operate would be subject to final decision of the DPCC which would verify if the treatment plants are functioning properly.
During the September 25 hearing, NGT had also constituted a committee to suggest ways and means for such eateries to reduce pollution. The committee submitted its report on January 8 and NGT has asked DPCC to publicise it on their website and in national dailies.