Days after the high court called south Delhi’s upscale Hauz Khas Village “a ticking time bomb”, the city government on Saturday ordered sealing of 22 eating joints in the locality known for its popular eateries and designer boutiques. According to an order by Delhi Pollution Control Committee, 22 units which did not have the mandatory approvals under pollution laws are being sealed.
Delhi Jal Board and power distribution company BSES Rajdhani have also been told to disconnect the water and power supply to these units with immediate effect.
These units had been issued notice earlier but had not bothered to respond, the committee’s order accessed by the NDTV said.
The committee, which oversees implementation of environmental laws in the national capital, said it had spotted multiple violations that include running kitchens without installing a grease trap, running take away restaurant and serving food in disposable plates
The order to seal the premises comes into force with immediate effect. South district officials said the area Sub-Divisional Magistrate had started the process the seal the shops.
This is not the first time the government has cracked the whip. In 2013, the National Green Tribunal had ordered dozens of shops in the locality to shut for operating without adequate pollution control measures.
The crackdown comes just days after a two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court headed by acting Chief Justice Gita Mitta had frowned at the government and restaurant owners not responding to its queries on safety and other issues.
“The reports of Delhi Police, Delhi Fire Service, SDMC and the Delhi Jal Board illustrate that the Hauz Khas Village is a ticking time bomb without essential civic and emergency services,” the bench had observed.
“Our repeated queries regarding quantum of solid waste (garbage) and sewage generated by these restaurants (pubs, bars and cafes in Hauz Khas Village) evoked no response from either the authorities or the restaurant owners,” the court added. It also warned shop owners that they will not be allowed escape civil and criminal liability in case any unfortunate incident takes place.
The high court was hearing a public interest litigation that alleged over 120 restaurants and public were running in this south Delhi locality without any approved building plans or no objected certificates. The sewage system, the bench noted, was also not robust enough to take the load from the kitchen and bathrooms of various restaurants and pubs.
“The adverse impact on the hygiene and environment so far as the citizenry is concerned thereby, would be insurmountable and irreversible,” it said.
Delhi Police had also reported to the court that during a mock-drill for a terrorist attack, the National Security Guard commandos could not reach the destination within the village.
As carried ndtv on 25.9.17