New Delhi: Meet businessman-turned-environmentalist Pankaj Sharma – the man who ruined the plans of Delhi culturati who generally head for overpriced restaurants in one of Delhi’s poshest hangout joints, Hauz Khas Village on weekends.
38-year-old Sharma filed two court cases after which more than a dozen of restaurants in Hauz Khas were shut.
Over the past three years, restaurants in Hauz Khas Village have mushroomed to 62, at last count. The quiet lakeside area, surrounded by tombs this up-market hangout zone also has niche bookstores to satisfy the palate of Dilliwalahs who have hearts and pockets of gold.
However, the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday gave its go-ahead to most restaurants in the area to reopen, with a number of conditions.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal: “I know people are angry, but for a short term,” Sharma told India Real Time, during his first visit to the area in four months. “In the longer term they’ll realize the importance of it. It’s like a doctor gives you an injection, so you get pain from that injection but if you don’t get that injection you won’t get healthy,” he added.
Sharma believes this shock treatment was needed. He said that restaurants that have mushroomed in the area are nothing but nuisance to residents.
Sharma has worked for 13 years in business management at an industrial technology trade association, the National Association of Software and Services Companies, before quitting four years ago to follow his passion for environmental and heritage preservation.
He founded a nonprofit, the Centre for Transforming India, which focuses on the implementation of government policies in these areas and was initially based in Hauz Khas village.