Contrary to a proposal passed in the House to bring all illegal hotels in the city under the building bylaws dating back to 1976, the municipal corporation is going to seal 15 of these establishments in 72 hours.
Issued on Saturday evening, the sealing notice also covers two Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) serais in the Golden Temple Galliara; this when the MC has even requested the Punjab government to seek legal opinion in this regard.
On Saturday evening, the MC teams were distributing copies of the notice to the owners of these hotels that had come up in violation of the building bylaws. The municipal town planner notice has asked the owners to stop the use of these buildings within the given time limit.
The development has stunned the owners, and now they threaten to go on strike from Monday. "The notice is issued on the directions of the Punjab government special investigation team (SIT)," said mayor Bakshi Ram Arora.
At Mata Kaulan Sangat Niwas and Sri Guru Gobind Singh Serai, both run by the SGPC, there is no mandatory space for parking vehicles. Amritsar deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat, who is a member of the SIT, said 125 hotels around the Golden Temple do not fulfil the bylaws. "Of these 125, 15, including the two SGPC serais are in the walled city area," he added.
In 2010, Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) had filed a public-interest petition about the illegal hotels within the Golden Temple periphery. "On the one hand, the government talks of fortifying the tourist infrastructure in the city, and on the other hand, it plans to raze the symbols of the past," said Parminder Singh, a hotelier in the walled city area.