Shimla, May 31: Taking a tough stand on the issue of environmental degradation by haphazard construction in the Kasauli area, the NGT today directed the five hoteliers to demolish the unauthorised and illegally constructed portions of their buildings within two weeks.
The NGT headed by Justice Swatantar Kumar further clarified that in the event of default, the Town and Country Planning Department with the help of administration would demolish these structures and recover the cost from the hoteliers.
For degrading the environment of the area the tribunal further imposed the environmental compensation on the hotels. As per the judgment, the NGT imposed Rs 5 lakh on Bird’s View Hotel, Rs 7 lakh on Chelsea Resorts, Rs 7 lakh on Hotel Pine View, Rs 7 lakh on Narayani Guest House and Rs 10 lakh on Nilgiri Hotel.
The Green Tribunal clarified in its order that each of these five hotels would pay the said environmental compensation within two weeks, failing which their premises would be liable to be sealed and water & electricity supply would also be disconnected.
The NGT further directed the hotels to pay this environment compensation to the HP State Pollution Control Board (HPPCB) so that it can utilize the amount for protection, restoration and restitution of the ecology and environment in this area.
While passing this judgment Justice Swatantar Kumar observed that “Polluter Pays Principle mandates that a polluter must pay compensation for causing pollution as well as on account of restoration and restitution of the environment of the area in question.
”The court also directed the Chief Secretary to take action against all the erring officers, particularly Senior Environmental Engineer, Junior Engineer and other officers of the HPPCB and District Town Planner, Junior Engineer and other officers of the TCP and the erring officers of the electricity board.
The tribunal observed, “They have certainly failed to discharge their statutory and public duties appropriately. They have also failed to maintain the standards of performance expected from such officers. They, in fact, completely ignored the violations by the hoteliers on both counts, environmental and town planning laws and took no effective action.”
Source Tribune India