At least 350 budget hotels in Delhi are facing closure with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) giving them shutdown notices because of absence of proper effluent and sewage treatment plants.
There are around 1,500 budget hotels in Delhi, most of which are located in Paharganj, Karol Bagh and Mahipalpur.
The DPCC notice, individually issued on April 10, says if they (hotel owners) failed to comply, power and water supplies will be snapped.
Delhi Police and the health department of the North corporation have been asked to cancel the licences of these establishments.
The notices asks the individual owners to submit compliance reports under section 33A of Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and section 31A of Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, within 15 days.
According to Arun Gupta of the Delhi Hotel Mahasangh, around 350 small hotels and guesthouses in Paharganj, Karol Bagh and Rajinder Nagar have got these notices.
“This order is unfair. Delhi Police is the nodal agency for granting licence to run a guest house. Delhi Police’s licensing department never asked us to get permission from the DPCC. If it is mandatory to get the consent from DPCC, then why doesn’t the licensing department show it on their website as it does for the nod from the fire department and MCD. We will meet the environment minister and ask him to keep small hotels, which don’t have working kitchens, free from this DPCC consent,” Gupta told HT.
These hotels don’t have consent to establish or consent to operate, which are mandatory to run hotels in Delhi. Consent to operate is the first step for any industry or trade to begin operation and permission, given by DPCC, is given within four months of the application.
Both permissions are a mandatory part of the processes in place to ensure water and air are not polluted. But these hotels didn’t have the required permission.
According to hotel owners, the air and water act is for “industry and we (guest house) are not industrial units”.
“Our activity is purely residential and non-polluting. We are not at fault and we should be saved from this harassment. Small guest houses are already under burden to pay conversion charges, house tax, luxury tax and licence fees. Now for getting a consent from DPCC, small business owners like us have to pay additional fee,” Gupta said.