Days after it razed a portion of the five-floor hotel of a Congress leader close to Jallianwala Bagh, the municipal corporation has acknowledged the presence of other illegal hotels in the Galliara area around the Golden Temple.
On Thursday, it will meet to decide action against these other inns. Of nearly 500 hotels in the city, most are near the Golden Temple, of which nearly 400 are illegal. Only nearly 100 hotels in the city are registered.
Sarabjit Singh, principal investigator of Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO), which had filed a public-interest petition (PIL) in 2010 in connection with the illegal hotels in the Golden Temple periphery, had submitted a list of 150 illegal hotels to the high court. In response to his application under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the municipal town planning department had accepted that at least 105 illegal hotels in the walled city were illegal.
Some of the hotels have come recently after the MC had sanctioned plans in contravention of the Punjab and Haryana high court order against approval to any fresh plan for construction in the Galliara area. "The dimensions of most of these hotels, especially the height, are not in accordance with the rules, while some hotels have projections over the road and construction over pavements," said Sarabjit Singh.
The hotels against which the civic body proposes action are the ones that have come up in violation of the Serai Act, sources in the MC have confirmed. "These hotels have no fire-fighting facilities and the structures are decrepit old houses converted into guest houses in the walled city," said a source.
Hardly a hotel in the area had valid registration under the Serai Act. Registering was mandatory, as it covers nearly all clearances required for running the hospitality business. "Many illegal hotels in the Galliara have come up in violation of norms," said municipal commissioner DPS Kharbanda. "We'll have a meeting on Thursday to decide the action to be taken against these. It will be as per law," he added.