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Over 200 hotels sealed in Kashmir

The Hindu, New Delhi, 25th November 2013

In an unprecedented operation, the Jammu & Kashmir State Pollution Control Board [PCB] over the weekend sealed as many as 137 hotels, including the ‘A’ category ‘Broadway’ that, among others, houses the NDTV bureau since 2003.

 

Broadway, Jehangir and scores of other hotels, which accommodate most of the over five lakh tourists a year, were sealed by the authorities following a directive from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

 

Prominent hotelier and Chairman of the coordination committee of the three key associations, including Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA), Faiz Ahmad Bakhshi claimed that 90 hotels had been sealed at the prime tourist resort of Pahalgam, 20 at Gulmarg and 161 in Srinagar.

 

While hearing a a public interest litigation petition, a Division Bench of the High Court directed PCB to close down all the identified hotels deficient in possessing and operating sewerage treatment plant for proper treatment and disposal of effluent.

 

“We welcome the court orders but, at the same time, we have pointed out in our averments that merely cleaning pollution at the hotels would have little impact. Our contribution to the solid and liquid pollution is not more than 20 per cent. There are thousands of households in Srinagar besides hundreds of government establishments and over two lakh security forces personnel. Even if we set up STPs and drain out pure water, it will pass through the same drains that carry hundreds of cubic metres of liquid waste. Besides, this entire operation is limited to only Kashmir,” Mr. Bakhshi said..