NGT orders demolition of 7 hotels in Kasauli

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
I don’t usually agree with the orders NGT comes out with because more often than not, they don’t really have a foot in the reality and don’t actually do much for the environment and usually inconvenience the people.

However, this judgement by the NGT to demolish illegal construction by 7 hotels in Kasauli ought to be a welcome one for all, except of course the hoteliers.

Strangely enough, I had always heard, construction and in particular unplanned construction in Kasauli was nearly impossible due to strongly enforced rules there to preserve the environment. However, it seems, a lot of hotels have been flouting those norms and eventually action might be taken against 31 hotels!

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In a judgment that should sound alarm bells for hotels and resorts that are coming up in rampant violation of environmental norms at various tourist destinations, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday ordered the demolition of five resorts in Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh that were either constructed or expanded without adequate approvals from authorities.

Hearing applications against five resorts filed by Society for Preservation of Kasauli and its Environs (SPOKE), the NGT directed that Bird's View Resort, Chelsea Resorts, Hotel Pine View, Narayani Guest House and Nilgiri Hotel demolish their "unauthorized structures".

"We direct that the unauthorised and illegal construction raised in violation of the planning laws affecting environment, ecology and natural resources adversely, should be demolished in terms of the provisions of the NGT Act of 2010," a bench headed by NGT chairperson, Swatanter Kumar said. "In the event of default, the Town and Country Planning department along with state administration shall demolish these structures and recover the cost incurred thereupon as arrears of land revenue."

The NGT bench also ordered the resorts to pay up for the environmental destruction caused based on the nature of violations. The Bird's View Hotel was directed to pay an environmental compensation of Rs 5 lakh, Chelsea Resorts, Hotel Pine View, Narayani Guest House were directed to pay Rs 7 lakhs each while Nilgiri hotel was directed to pay Rs 10 lakh. The money will go to the Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board (HPPCB) which will utilize it for restoration of forests and environment.

According to the NGT order, the violations by these hotels are quite massive. While the Bird's View Hotel added a 3-storey frame structure adjoining the existing building without obtaining prior approval from Town & Country Planner (TCP), Chelsea Resorts made four building blocks instead of two approved by the TCP.
Similarly, Hotel Pine View constructed a 7-storey structure in two inter-connecting building blocks as against only three storey in one block that was approved. Narayani Guest House constructed a 6-storey building as against the approval of three storey, while Nilgiri Hotel constructed four extra storeys and "destroyed the earth" in that area, the NGT observed. Amicus in the case, AR Takkar, said the same judgment may apply to 31 hotels in total that have violated the norms.

The green tribunal also hinted at connivance between local authorities and hotel/resort owners in the judgment. It also named officials who failed to perform their duties and keep a check on unauthorized constructions in the hills.

"Wherever and whenever the applications were submitted, they were incomplete, lacking the material particulars necessary for proper application of mind by the concerned officers. The format of the application is prescribed and it requires all material particulars necessary for carrying on such activity which were never submitted. No project reports were submitted at initial stages and in fact, at any stage except one case which itself is a complete farce," the judgment said.

The NGT bench asked Himachal Pradesh chief secretary to take disciplinary action against officials of HPPCB, TCP and electricity department, named in the order, for failing to "discharge their statutory and public duties appropriately". They have also failed to "maintain the standards of performance expected from such officers", the bench said.

"The noticees in the present cases could not quench their thirst for indiscriminately and illegally constructing properties for earning money while destroying natural resources and destroying the environment. These cases are examples of cruel human and nature conflict, the conflict that is activated by greed for money," the bench said.

Source: Times of India
 

jeetcp

Mediocre me
So these 7 story and 6 story hotels were surely illegal. Permission is for 2-3 stories generally. Good act. Probably 1st good act of NGT.
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
And the Supreme Court has stayed this order for the time being!

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order directing demolition of five resorts in Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh, which were either constructed or expanded without adequate approvals from authorities.

Although a bench of Justices R K Agrawal and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said the resort owners had to justify construction without approval from local authorities, but granted interim stay on the NGT order. The court posted the case for hearing on July 11 when the fate of the resorts would be decided.

"Issue notice returnable by July 11. Till then the operation of the impugned judgement and order shall remain stayed," the bench said.

The NGT had on May 30 directed Bird's View Resort, Chelsea Resorts, Hotel Pine View, Narayani Guest House and Nilgiri Hotel to demolish their "unauthorised structures". The tribunal had also directed the resorts to pay up for the environmental destruction caused by them. The Bird's View Hotel was directed to pay an environmental compensation of Rs 5 lakh while Chelsea Resorts, Hotel Pine View, Narayani Guest House were directed to pay Rs 7 lakh each. Nilgiri hotel was directed to pay Rs 10 lakh.

"We direct that the unauthorised and illegal construction raised in violation of the planning laws affecting environment, ecology and natural resources adversely, should be demolished in terms of the provisions of the NGT Act of 2010," the NGT had said.

The tribunal had passed the order on a plea filed by Society for Preservation of Kasauli and its Environs (SPOKE) alleging that Bird's View Hotel added a 3-storey structure adjoining the existing building without obtaining prior approval from Town & Country Planner (TCP) and Chelsea Resorts made four building blocks instead of two approved by the TCP.

It had alleged that Hotel Pine View constructed a 7-storey structure in two inter-connecting building blocks as against only three storey in one block that was approved. Narayani Guest House constructed a 6-storey building as against the approval of three storey, while Nilgiri Hotel constructed four extra storeys, it had contended before the tribunal.
 

Shivanshu

RX Rider
Damn this is bad, but have they resumed operation. I think by this stay the demolition wont happen but the operations of these resorts should be suspended till next hearing.
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
I seriously doubt that they have been forced to stop operations. Plus with this stay, they effectively get to cash in on the season.

Sent from my BLN-L22 using Tapatalk
 

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Owner of the Narayani Guest House in Kasauli shot dead the Assistant Town and County Planner, when she went with the PWD to empty out the hotel and raise the illegal structure down. He also shot and injured a PWD employee before running away from the hotel and being caught be the police.
 

Big Daddy

Super User
Clueless owner shoots the messenger and made his situation from bad to worse. He thinks that the PWD people he sees make decisions.
 
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