The municipal corporation appears to be in a quandary as far as the sealing of illegal hotels on the periphery of the Golden Temple is concerned with the civic body once again putting off for a few days the proposed sealing drive against 125 illegal hotels.
Earlier, the drive was scheduled for December 11, but now it had been postponed to December 15. The MC has cited various “administrative reasons” for the deferment.
It has been learnt from various sources that the scheduled visit of Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to the Holy City on December 10 is one of the most significant reasons behind the deferment.
According to sources, the CM is on a three-day visit to the city — December 10 to 12, which is a weekend when MC employees go on off.
Thus the sealing cannot be conducted from December 10 to 12, sources said, hence it has been postponed to December 15.
This is the third time this year that the MC has postponed an action against illegal hotels irrespective of the high court’s orders.
Meanwhile, owners of illegal hotels have claimed that they have the backing of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and had a meeting with him a few days back in this regard.
The hoteliers claimed that the deputy cm assured them that there would be no harm to their establishments.
However, on Monday, the owners of illegal hotels and ‘serais’ held a meeting to discuss their course of action against the MC drive on December 15.
“We will put up stiff resistance to the MC’s attempt to seal our establishments, as the government is working out a policy to regularise our establishments. Besides we have words from the deputy CM and local bodies minister Anil Joshi that our establishments would not be touched,” said Parminder Singh, a hotelier.
Out of 131 illegal hotels, as many as 125 hotels have been identified for sealing by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Punjab government, while six hotels have obtained stay orders from the court.
The establishments to be sealed also included ‘serais’ (inn) run by the Shiromani Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).
The Punjab Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the high court in 2010 in this connection.
Earlier, on August 20, the MC had made an attempt to seal the illegal hotels, but had to beat a retreat when the owners of these hotels resisted. It made another attempt on October 7, but failed yet again as the hoteliers approached the deputy CM seeking a reprieve.
Municipal commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal said the sealing had been put off due to administrative reasons, and we would definitely go ahead with it on December 15.