The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday allowed 25 of the 34 Hauz Khas restaurants to reopen, provided they install waste water treatment plants in four weeks.
Of the 25 restaurants, 14 have started installing these plants. Another 11 have placed orders but will have to pay a fine of `10,000 each as they have not started installation.
The tribunal ordered that the remaining (nine restaurants) or any other unit not covered in this order will remain shut. The restaurants will not draw groundwater and have to comply with air and water quality standards.
The tribunal had on Friday ordered the closure of all 34 restaurants till Tuesday for running without requisite approval and spewing untreated sewage. Later, the stay was extended till Wednesday.
The tribunal has formed a seven-member committee to suggest how all restaurants in the Capital can be made to adhere to pollution-control norms. The committee will have representatives from the municipal corporations, the central and state pollution control boards and other authorities and will submit its report in two months.
Most restaurants in Delhi run without required consent under laws formed to control air and water pollution. The Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) has called a meeting of the restaurant association to take up the matter.
The tribunal expressed its displeasure at the Delhi government for not providing adequate staff to the DPCC, which has only 26 environment scientists to inspect thousands of restaurants and asked it to take immediate steps to augment the agency’s manpower.
Pankaj Sharma, on whose petition the tribunal gave its order, said: “Environment sustainability and business activities should go hand-in-hand. The order would set precedence for not just Delhi, but entire India.”
“We will review the situation at ground zero and will continue our efforts to preserve the eco-sensitive zones of the city,” he added.