Observing that river Beas in Himachal Pradesh has been "turned into a drain" by hotels in Kullu and Manali, the National Green Tribunal has denied the interim plea of 34 hotels to allow them to run their business.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar observed that none of the 34 hotels have sewage treatment plants (STPs) or consent to operate and were discharging effluents into the river and declined to allow them to even operate generators for running their business.
"Applicants (hotels) will not even use generators to run their business as it would be tantamount to violation of the tribunal's order. You have turned the river into a drain. It used to be a pure and healthy river," the bench said, adding that it will hear the matter in Shimla on November 21.
The tribunal, meanwhile, directed the Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board (HPPCB) to consider in accordance with law the applications of the hotels for consent to operate, after some of them contended that they are not located near the river and have small businesses having 4-10 rooms.
The hotels contended that the pollution control board is not giving them consent to operate due to the tribunal's September 17 order by which HPPCB had been directed to ensure closure of all the 34 hotels which are operating without obtaining consent of the authority.
The hotels had moved the tribunal seeking directions for resumption of power supply to them on the ground of ongoing festival season.
They had also claimed to have complied with all of the earlier directions of the tribunal, but as they could not show whether they had functional sewage treatment plants in their hotels, the bench refused to give any interim relief to them.