After they were threatened with closure,restaurants in the bustling Hauz Khas Village have promised to comply with state pollution laws,a Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) official said on Tuesday.
Thirty-four restaurants in the village were issued notices by the DPCC on August 14 for failure to treat waster water. The establishments were told that they would be made to shut if steps were not taken to ensure treatment of waste water.
According to DPCC regulations,any restaurant with a seating capacity of 36 and above is required to manage its effluents and obtain a certificate,which would be given once it passed an emission inspection by the DPCC.
DPCC officials said the none of the 34 restaurants in Hauz Khas Village was complying with these rules.
They had 15 days to come up with a plan to start complying with the regulations, DPCC Member Secretary Sandeep Mishra said. Most of them have responded and ensured compliance, he said.
The restaurants and DPCC were put on the spot by social activist Pankaj Sharma,a resident of Kucha Pati Ram in Old Delhi,who submitted a petition to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in July this year,pointing out the violations which he found through several RTI requests.
Sharma emphasised that the waste water issue mentioned in his petition could cause soil pollution and result in the spread of diseases.
Mishra said now that the DPCC had sent out the message,restaurants were seeking guidance and have been granted further time to comply with the regulations.
He said the DPCC did not have enough staff to monitor every business establishment. The issue is not isolated to Hauz Khas Village. The board is now working on targeting specific areas and ensuring compliance in those particular areas. This is a normal process. Once the message is out,there will be no compromises. They must comply, Mishra said
However,Sharma said the restaurants were violating several other laws as well. He said he had filed over 100 RTI requests on the matter in the last three months.
Globally,such heritage sites are well-preserved. All these restaurants have distorted the aesthetics of the place and created a mess, Sharma told Newsline.
In the petition submitted before the NGT,he also accused the restaurants of illegally boring groundwater for their own supplies and using forest land the Deer Park and Rose Garden for commercial purposes. These matters are scheduled to be taken up at the NGT hearing scheduled for September 28.
He has also submitted to the Delhi High Court that Hauz Khas Village is a protected area under the Archaeological Survey of India because it is within 100 metres of a monument. He alleged that the commercial buildings in the Village were illegally constructed.