SRINAGAR: Expressing their resentment over the statement by Minister for Urban Development Nawang Rigzin Jora wherein he had stated that hotels having more than 19 rooms needed to install their own STPs, the Valley hoteliers said the information given in the legislative assembly contradicts the government’s own decision to construct STPs in Srinagar and Jammu to address environmental concerns.
The Coordination Committee of the valley’s oldest hoteliers’ association, Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Association (KHARA) and Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) said that state Government had decided to construct STPs in Srinagar and Jammu.
“The minister in the statement has said that hotels have to install their own STPs which is not correct in view of the recent decision of state Govt vide SRO No:475 TSM of2013 Dated:29- 11- 2013 under which State Government has decided to set up common STPs for waste water generated from the hotels in the cities of Srinagar and Jammu in the first instance,” the said President KHAROF G M Dug.
“It was also decided by the government that charges as prescribed by the competent authority will be paid by the hoteliers and other beneficiary commercial units,” he said.
Dug said the decision was taken after KHARA, KHAROF convinced government of the logic that if hotels install STPs, it would not serve the purpose of saving the cities and tourist resorts from menace of pollution.
“The other commercial establishments including thousands of households located in cities and in peripheries of our tourist resorts would go untreated which would ultimately pollute our water reserves and waterways,” said Dug.
The hoteliers said that it is impossible to keep an individual STP functional in an average hotel located in a place like Kashmir when it has to have a minimum temperature of 20 degrees to keep bacteria alive.
“But it is not possible to keep STPs functional throughout the year. There should be a constant flow of waste, serving as a feed to bacteria which can’t be managed because of zero/low occupancy in hotels of Kashmir,” he said.
KHARA said Minister for Urban Development has given contradictory statement in the assembly about installation of STPs.
“Cabinet has already decided that it would construct STPs at tourist places and in Srinagar. Hoteliers would be paying suitable fee for using these services,” said President KHARA Showkat Chowdhary.
Nawang Rigzin Jora while replying to supplementaries by Jugal Kishore and Rafiq Shah in the legislative assembly on Wednesday had said the guidelines of providing individual STPs to the hotels has been made mandatory by the Pollution Control Board and the High Court so these are to be constructed by the respective hoteliers.
Jora has said that 13 new drainage projects are proposed to be taken up in Srinagar City during the next five years.
Hoteliers, however, urged the government to speed up the works on the construction of the STPs so that hotels are connected to it soonest.
“By the time government constructs STPs, the hoteliers would minimize the refuse the pollution by using chemicals and other suitable means. Hoteliers are ready to help main a clean environment which will only benefit hospitality sector in the long run,” said Chowdhary.
The hotel associations also flayed authorities for only imposing laws in Kashmir region and leaving out Jammu, Katra and Ladakh where, they said, tourist inflow is much higher than Kashmir.
“Jammu regions get more pilgrim tourists and its hotels should have been sealed first but law has been enforced in Kashmir only and Jammu, Katra have been spared,” he said.