Every third guesthouse surveyed by the South corporation in areas such as Mahipalpur, Lajpat Nagar, Saket, Dwarka, Chattarpur, Mehrauli and Vasant Kunj was found to be violating civic body rules, a survey has revealed.
Now, 150 hotels and guesthouses of the 424 surveyed have been sent notices by the civic body for various violations, and many have been asked to seek a health trade licence within three days, failing which closure notices will be issued, said a senior official.
The survey was initiated after the fire at Hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh, which claimed 17 lives. There, too, a case of violation of civic body rules was seen as, in addition to other structural violations, extra kitchens were being run in the basement and terrace.
A senior South MCD official said during inspection, it was found that guesthouses were running kitchens when only a pantry is allowed for guests; the number of rooms were more than those permitted; and unauthorised construction had been carried out. There were also illegal spas being run in some guesthouses, the official said.
“We have given notices to the hotels but some enjoy immunity under the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, so the civic body cannot act against them as of now,” he said.
Under this Act, unauthorised colonies or buildings that existed as on March 31, 2002, or where construction took place up till February 8, 2007, are protected from action till 2020. In such cases, local authorities cannot act against encroachment or unauthorised development.
Leader of the house Kamaljeet Shehrawat said the SDMC has formed a revised health trade policy, which has some strict measures to deal with the issue and will be notified soon. Standing committee chairperson Shikha Rai said more checks and balances will be introduced in the health trade licence: “Physical verification will also be increased.”