In a breather to resorts in the picturesque Himachal Pradesh town of Kasauli, the Supreme Court has stayed a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order directing demolition of seven properties, which were extended illegally without requisite approvals from authorities. A bench comprising justices R K Agrawal and Sanjay Kishan Kaul issued notices to various parties in the case and posted the matter for July 11. “Till then the operation of the impugned judgement and order shall remain stayed,” the bench said. The direction came on the plea filed by two resorts — Narayani Guest House and Bird’s View Resort — challenging the May 30 NGT order directing demolition of illegally constructed portions of their buildings and also imposing 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 tribunal had noted that Bird’s View Hotel, which had permission for five rooms and two cottages, has carried out excessive construction and built nine rooms, one cottage and a three-storey frame structure adjoining the existing building without obtaining prior approval from Town and Country Planner, Solan. Similarly, Chelsea Resorts which had permission for two blocks with three-storeys each has illegally constructed four blocks besides a twin parking unit.
Hotel Pine View originally had permission for three storeys in one block with a total capacity of seven rooms but its owner constructed a seven-storey structure in two inter-connected building blocks. Narayani Guest House had consent for three storeys and one floor for parking. However, the owner constructed a six-storey building. Nilgiri Hotel had permission for three storeys but the bench noted that including basement, there were eight storeys of the building. The judgement had come on the plea filed by Society for Preservation of Kasauli and its Environs (SPOKE) contending that such a huge commercial activity cannot be permitted due to the fragile ecology of Kasauli town.