Decision on closed Hauz Khas Village restaurants today

New Delhi A decision over the 30-odd restaurants in the Hauz Khas Village in New Delhi which were ordered shut last week will be made today. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has now directed the Delhi pollution panel to check their compliance measures.

The eateries were asked to close on September 20 for running without environmental clearance.

Hearing a petition filed by Pankaj Sharma, a bench headed by Justice P Jyothimani also asked Delhi Police, Delhi Jal Board and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, which is the license issuing authority, to be present at the hearing.

Counsel for the restaurant owners pleaded they be allowed to run their establishments as it is affecting the livelihood of over 2,000 families.

Posting the petition for hearing on Wednesday, the bench in its order said: “It is made clear in the meantime, each of the restaurant owners are entitled to submit necessary scheme to the DPCC (Delhi Pollution Control Committee) in respect of their own restaurants which are to be studied by the DPCC and report the same before this Tribunal by tomorrow (Wednesday).”

The courtroom was packed as many restaurant owners were present and they pleaded they were ready to take all measures to protect the surrounding environment of Hauz Khas Village which has some ancient monuments and a water body.

The bench, however, said it has no intention to take away anyone’s right to livelihood, but a balance has to be struck.

DPCC member secretary Sandeep Mishra told the bench that only 19 of 34 restaurants, which were issued notice, have responded.

The bench pulled up the DPCC for not ensuring compliance of environment law by these eateries and said many small restaurants are mushrooming in the city and it needs to ensure that they follow the law.

Mr Mishra said there were over 60,000 restaurants in Delhi and the DPCC has called a meeting of the restaurant association to take up the matter.

Restaurant owners said they have already started taking measures like ordering effluent treatment plants (ETPs).

“We had no idea about taking environment clearance for restaurants. We accept our mistake and have already started taking measures, but it will take some time to install ETPs,” said a restaurant owner.

The NGT shut the 34 restaurants for operating without proper clearances, discharging effluents, drawing potable water and causing environmental hazards.

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