This has put a question mark on whether the others are adhering to environmental norms. MPCB guidelines stipulate that for hotels to obtain environmental clearance, they need to follow several strictures, other than getting the mandatory permission from the local body.
For instance, a hotel that produces more than 10 cubic metre of sewage water a day needs to have its own sewage treatment plant (STP). The hotels also need to dispose of solid waste as per guidelines. Action can be initiated against hotels that function without proper clearance under the Environmental Protection Act.
While officials put the onus on hoteliers to seek the clearance, activists say the Board is not serious about implementing its own guidelines. There seems to have been no regular inspections to check whether hotels adhere to green rules. File inspections showed that the MPCB had last year issued notice to a prominent hotel in Koregaon Park area.
A D Mohekar, regional officer of the MPCB, however, said inspections are carried out by the Board at the hotels only after any complaint is received. “We do not carry out regular inspections at hotels,” he said.
Suresh Talera, chairman of the Talera Group of Hotels said they have been trying through the Hoteliers and Restaurant Association (H&RA) to get members comply with environmental rules. “As clearances are required only for hotels of certain capacity, it would not be applicable to all hotels. Also, we must understand that STPs would require space which at times would be a concern for hoteliers,” he said.
He added that the revised norms of the tourism department has made it mandatory to get environmental clearance before categorization of hotels. “Thus, I believe within the next two-three years all the hotels would have the necessary clearances,” he said.
Activist Vijay Kumbhar stated that it indeed was strange that the MPCB had failed to initiate action against hotels not having the mandatory clearances. “The MPCB should take suo motu action and not wait for complaints. It indeed is a travesty of law that the Board has to wait for complaints to take action,” he said.