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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Illegal hotels: MC misses deadline again

Shaheen P Parshad , Hindustan Times  Amritsar, December 02, 2013
First Published: 22:19 IST(2/12/2013) | Last Updated: 22:20 IST(2/12/2013)

Even as the Amritsar Municipal Corporation was scheduled to initiate the process of hearing the claims of owners of more than 100 illegal hotels in the vicinity of the Golden Temple on December 2 -- as per the orders of the high court -- the civic body again missed its deadline citing 'absence of a strategy.'

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The top officials of the MC further stated that the meeting could not be held due to staff shortage in the municipal town planning department.

They, however, said, "A meeting will soon be held to chalk out a strategy."

As many as 150 illegal hotels were constructed in the vicinity of the Golden Temple against the orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court.

However, when the owners of these hotels approached the court seeking respite, the latter directed the MC to hear their grievances.

The civic body has two months' time to deal with the issue. The Punjab Human Rights Organization (PHRO) had filed a Public-Interest Litigation (PIL) in the court in this regard in 2010, besides submitting a list of 150 illegal hotels.

Surinder Singh, president, Amritsar Hotel Association, said, "None of the affected hoteliers have so far received any notice from the MC to appear before the authorities in this regard."

"We will appear before the civic body authorities when we receive notices," he added.

Municipal commissioner DPS Kharbanda said, "Orders in this regard have been communicated to the senior town planner of the MTP department. However, there is only one assistant town planner to deal with the walled city area," he said.

Kharbanda said a meeting would soon be convened and other officials would be appointed to assist him while hearing the grievances of the hoteliers.

"The civic body has two months to solve the issue. The hearing will be covered in a month's time, while the illegal hotels will be demolished in the subsequent month," he added.

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