The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday provided some relief to 26 restaurants operating in South Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village by granting them conditional approval to start operating again.

Last week the Tribunal had ordered them to close down since they were flouting green norms.

The Tribunal has allowed only those restaurants to re-open which have installed Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) or are in the process of doing so. It, however, clarified that this permission is subject to a final decision by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) which will monitor the functioning of ETPs.

The bench headed by Justice P. Jyothimani gave four weeks’ time to these restaurants – 14 of which have started work to install ETPs and 11 that have been issued orders to purchase sewage treatment plants – to complete the installation of ETPs. It also imposed a cost of Rs.10,000 on the 11 eateries. However, those restaurants which were closed down at the time of inspection and have not installed ETPs or shown any progress will remain closed and power and water supply to them will be cut off.

The Tribunal directed that none of the restaurants will draw ground water and strict action will be taken against defaulters. A seven-member committee will also be constituted as per the Bench’s order to supervise the operation of such eating joints. It will submit within two months a report containing suggestions to regulate the numerous restaurants in Delhi.

The petitioner in the case, Pankaj Sharma, on Wednesday said he welcomed the NGT’s new order. “The order validates our stand that environment sustainability and business activities should go hand in hand for urbanisation. It is the need of the hour that industry and government bodies act responsibly in persevering environment, failing which a catastrophe is inevitable. The order is a progressive step in the right direction and would set a precedence for not just Delhi but the entire country,” he said.

He said it was now up to the various authorities to ensure compliance of the order fully in letter and spirit.

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