According to an RTI reply from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, around 30 restaurants don’t have environment clearance

While a rise in illegal commercial activities in and around Hauz Khas Village has forced residents to seek the National Green Tribunal’s intervention, a Right to Information reply from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (dated July 15) has noted that there are around 30 restaurants in the area operating without environment clearance.

The Tribunal has issued notices to the Union Ministry of Environment and the DPCC asking for their response on the matter by next month.

The applicant, Pankaj Sharma, had enquired if the pollution control board’s no-objection certificate was required to operate a restaurant in the area, under which provision were these clearances given and if any consent was issued to these restaurants.

“The reply clearly noted that while there was a requirement for no-objection certificates, no consent was issued to a list of abound 30 restaurants operating in the area,” said Mr. Sharma.

He added that with the absence of municipal water supply in the village, all the restaurants have been using groundwater and depleting it enormously.

“Several restaurants do not have permissions from the pollution control board to operate from the area which is mandatory. The utter lack of solid and liquid waste management is causing massive land and water pollution in the region and is taking a huge environment toll on the village. Apart from these, the massive air pollution is also a cause for serious concern,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his petition to the Tribunal, Mr. Sharma had also pointed to the alleged nexus between the municipal bodies, traders and the police in allowing eateries and shops to operate without clearance certificates.

Causing pollution

Mr. Sharma said: “The eateries operating without clearance are causing depletion of the groundwater level, polluting the air with excess use of generators and dumping waste without any proper disposal process.”

“Worse, these shops and restaurants have come up very close to heritage structures in the area. It is worrying that the State and local bodies have completely failed to check the illegal mushrooming of commercial units despite several complaints,” said Mr. Sharma.