Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 12:
Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) on Monday served closure notices to two hotels here for violating its norms.
The two hotels which have been given notices are Hotel Annapurna in Nayapalli, IRC village area and Hotel Pelican in Cuttack Road area.
Notably, the board had earlier given orders to close down six hotels in the capital city.
Hotel Urmee, Hotel Andhra Palace, Hotel Keshari, Hotel Sriya in Rasulgarh Square, Hotel Bari International in Nayapalli and Nirmala Inn in Ashok Nagar were served closure notices. In the capital city, 36 hotels were given show-cause notices for violating environmental norms.
These hotels were being run in clear violation of cleanliness and hygiene without getting clearance from the state pollution board.
Notably, Hotel Keshari has taken its case to court, while other two hotels have appealed to the Board for a stay.
Going by an estimate, 903 hotels are operating illegally across Odisha, while in the capital itself, there are scores of eateries operating in clear violation of the pollution board norms.
Meanwhile, in the last two months the state pollution control board has served closure notices to 8 hotels. But no one is abiding by these notices; these hotels are still doing brisk business. The blatant violation is because the Board lacks an enforcement mechanism to enforce its directives.
“We only have the powers to serve notices to the illegally running hotels. But seeing that they are closed is the work of the district administration and police. They are not taking any action, resulting in non compliance. This is also leading to lack of awareness among the public. Therefore, erring hoteliers are only applying for permission after being served with notices,” said Hadibandhu Panigrahi, zonal officer of Odisha State Pollution Control Board.
Under Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981, as well as the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974, the Board needs to be informed before the construction of any hotel. Besides, they also need to construct a sewerage treatment plant.
A lot of hoteliers are allegedly ignoring this minimum requirement for opening a hotel. Not only this, they are throwing away the pollution board notices into the dustbins. Besides, appeals for personal appearance before it has also fallen on deaf ears.
The Board, therefore, had no other option but to serve them closure notices.
Last year, an epidemic-like situation due to jaundice in Puri had forced the district administration to swing into action. After investigation, it was found that the untreated water from the hotels was seeping into the ground water and contaminating the ground water thereby spreading the disease.
After the Board did a thorough investigation into the issue, it was found that multiple hotels had opened and were running without clearance from the authorities. These polluting eateries were shut down.