No law has been followed in the construction of some resorts and hotels in the picturesque town of Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh and government officials have “colluded” in the illegalities, the Supreme Court observed today.
The apex court said that some of the resorts and hotels in the town have constructed seven-storeyed buildings whereas they were permitted to build only three storeys.
“No law has been followed (in construction). Officials have completely colluded. Give respect to law,” a vacation bench of Justices A M Sapre and S K Kaul observed.
The apex court was hearing separate pleas of some of the Kasauli-based resorts which had sought a stay on a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order directing demolition of several properties which were extended illegally without requisite approvals from authorities.
During the hearing on a plea filed by one of the hotels, the bench said that an eight-storeyed building was under construction there whereas the permission was to raise only a three-storeyed one.
When the counsel representing the hotel said there were some overlapping facts in the NGT judgement and no illegal construction was going on, the bench said, “you know better than us about what is going on there”.
Meanwhile, the bench issued notice on the plea filed by AAA Guest House and stayed the operation of NGT’s May 30 this year order.
Similarly, on the pleas filed by Hotel Pine View and Neelgiri Hotel, the bench issued notices but did not grant any stay on the NGT order.
During the hearing on one of the pleas, the apex court observed “you had permission to construct a three-storeyed building. You have constructed seven storeys. The four floors are completly unauthorised”.
The bench also issued notice on a plea filed by another resort, also challenging the NGT order. The court tagged all these petitions with the pleas filed earlier by some other hotels and resorts against the green tribunal’s order.
It fixed all the matters for hearing on July 11.
The apex court had earlier stayed the NGT order on the plea filed by two resorts, Narayani Guest House and Bird’s View Resort.
The NGT had directed demolition of illegally constructed portions of their buildings and also imposed environmental compensation ranging from Rs 5-10 lakh on each of them.
The green panel had imposed hefty fines on the hotels — Bird’s View Resort, Chelsea Resorts, Hotel Pine View, Narayani Guest House, Hotel Nilgiri, Hotel Divsikha and AAA Guest House — for causing irretrievable damage to the ecology, polluting the environment and raising unauthorised constructions.
The NGT had noted that Bird’s View Hotel, which had permission for five rooms and two cottages, had carried out excessive construction and built nine rooms, a cottage and a three-storey frame structure adjoining the existing building without obtaining approval from the Town and Country Planner, Solan.
Similarly, Chelsea Resorts which had permission for two blocks with three-storeys each had illegally constructed four blocks besides a twin parking unit, the NGT had noted.
The NGT’s judgement had come on the plea filed by Society for Preservation of Kasauli and its Environs (SPOKE) contending that such huge commercial activity cannot be permitted due to the fragile ecology of Kasauli town.
( Source – PTI )