Kasauli- Promoting tourism ignoring norms

As a per a RTI information in possession with Himachal Scape, it has been found that out of 11 hotels (including HPTDC RosCommon) operating in the core area of Kasauli, do not have no objection certificate from the army cantonment board. The information further states that out of the 11 hotels, 8 don’t have pollution no objection certificate.

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Himachal Scape

As a per a RTI information in possession with Himachal Scape, it has been found that out of 11 hotels (including HPTDC RosCommon) operating in the core area of Kasauli, do not have no objection certificate from the army cantonment board. The information further states that out of the 11 hotels, 8 don’t have pollution NOC. Only 3 including HPTDC hotel RosCommon have clearance from HP State Pollution control board. The hotels covered in the RTI are Hotel Ros common, Alasia, R Maidens, Maurice, Puri, Himlay, Aanchal, Gian, Kasauli 48, Old tavern restaurant and Madira Café. Sources inform that the hotels which do not have pollution NOC in the area could be more in number as the information obtained under RTI was only about 11 hotels in core area. This information was provided by District tourism officer in reply to a RTI in July 2017.

Army and the habitants of Kasauli take utmost measures to ensure that the small cantonment town doesn’t lose its essence. Even the NGT in March 2017 had set up a special expert committee which shall have the dual assignments of evaluating the effect on environment and ecology due to project in question and activities in the town of Kasauli at large. This directive of the NGT came in light due to a judgment in one Society for Preservation of Kasauli and its Environs (SPOKE) vs HPTDC matter.

“Yet, not even a fortnight that the National Green tribunal levied a heavy fine on one hotel situated at Barog (Solan) for not obtaining clearance from HP Pollution control board. And here we have more than half a dozen hotels running without pollution clearance in Kasauli,” jibed Samriti Sood who got this information through RTI.

Any business in Kasauli to run requires a no objection certificate from the army Cantonment board along with other government clearances. Even if a nail had to drill in one’s wall, it requires permission from the Army authorities in the core area of the small hill town. The cantonment norm says, ‘Any construction or repair activity shall not be permitted within 50 meters. Any construction or repair activity within such restricted zone between 50 to 100 meters will require prior no objection certificate (NoC) from the Local military Authority (LMA)/ Defense establishments. It is further provided that where local municipal laws require consultation or approval or NoC from the LMA / Station Commander before a building plan is approved, compliance to such statutory requirements shall continue to be applicable’.

However the reveal of this RTI evidently suggest that the department concerned in bid to promote tourism of the area has been ignorant about making these hoteliers follow norms. Tourism department before registration of hotels needs NOCs from both Army cantonment board Kasauli and from HP Pollution control board. The same are supposed to be reviewed on yearly basis by the department.

However here in case of Kasauli hotels, it was witnessed that the laws are being practiced with disparity by the department concerned. As sources inform that some new hotels are denied registration due to non availability of NOC from army board and HPPCB, whereas many (including HPTDC hotel) are allowed to operate without the said NOCs in question.

When contacted the District tourism officer Solan was not available to keep their version on this matter.

Kasauli is a contonment and town, located in Solan of Himachal Pradesh. The cantonment was established by the British in 1842 as a Colonial hill station, 77 km from Shimla, 65 km from Chandigarh, and lies at a height of 1,927 metres (6,322 ft). The town is a health resort, having an elevation of 1,900 metres above sea level.

To be continued…….

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