New Delhi: In a relief to several of the restaurants in Delhi`s upmarket Hauz Khas Village area which were ordered to be closed five days ago, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today granted conditional approval to 26 eating joints to start serving food.
A bench headed by Justice P Jyothimani only allowed those restaurants to open which have installed Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) or are in the process of installing them, but clarified that the permission to operate would be subject to final decision of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) which would verify if the ETPs are functioning properly.
While the order was welcomed by the owners of the eating joints, advocate Sumedha Dua, appearing for petitioner Pankaj Sharma, aired her reservations regarding the NGT`s decision.
She contended that while allowing the lone eating joint which has installed the ETP to operate is fine, the rest if permitted to operate before installation of the ETPs would result in perpetuation of pollution which was being caused by them in Hauz Khas Village, a notified heritage site.
She also argued that the order would act as a condonation of the commercial activities of those eateries which are operating in residential areas.
The bench, while taking note of her objections, said, "The permission granted to them (eateries), in our view, does not amount to violation of law."
Fourteen eating joints where civil work for installing ETPs is in progress and 11 that have issued purchase orders for ETPs but are yet to commence installation, each have been given four weeks time by the bench to complete the whole process.
The tribunal also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the 11 eateries.
The NGT while allowing the 26 eating joints to open their shutters, said that the existence of their (eateries) drainage systems prompted the bench to "think positively".