National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board (HPSPCB) to ensure the closure of all the 34 hotels on the river side in district Kullu and Manali which are operating without obtaining consent of the Board.
The NGT headed by Justice Swatantra Kumar further directed the Member Secretary of Pollution Control Board to file a detailed affidavit before the Tribunal after his personal inspection stating therein that where are they disposing of their sewage and municipal waste and what treatment plants have been installed, if at all, their specifications and performance standard laid down.
The NGT passed this order when it was informed by the Board that there are 129 hotels on the river side in district Kullu and Manali, and out of them 34 have obtained their consent which is in force. Applications of 54 hotels are under consideration and 34 hotels are operating without obtaining consent of the Board and have not even applied for consent. 15 hotels have not applied for renewal of the consent and they are operating without obtaining consent of the Board. Application of 1 hotel has been rejected.
While passing this order the NGT further observed that “other major source of polluting river Beas and its tributaries causing environmental pollution, particularly air and water pollution by the municipal/biomedical waste disposal practices in the area, even by throwing municipal solid waste and discarded vegetables etc. directly into the river Beas. As we had noticed, the Marketing Committee, Bhuntar is one of such parties which is responsible for throwing municipal waste/vegetable waste directly into the river Beas. It was reported in the newspaper that the entire municipal waste/vegetable waste was unloaded by the tractor directly into the river Beas”.
It further observed that “it is an admitted case of causing pollution near the river Beas by throwing municipal solid waste/vegetable waste directly into it in an objectionable manner and we see no reason whatsoever not to hold that the Marketing Committee, Bhuntar and Prem Singh (Contractor) have committed such heinous offence”.
The NGT issued bailable warrant against the Secretary, Marketing Committee, Bhuntar and one Prem Singh for November, 22, 2013. It further issued show cause notice to both of them as to why they should not be directed to restore the environmental degradation caused by them in terms of polluting the river Beas involving the principles of polluter pays and why they should not be directed to pay at least Rupees Five lakhs each for causing environmental degradation.