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DEHRADUN : Following National Green Tribunal’s order to this effect, Utarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) had given directions to close nine hotels along banks of Ganga. On Thursday, when a team of officials went to seal a hotel located at Laxmanjhula in Rishikesh, foreign tourists staying there protested as they alleged that they had come for participating in yoga classes on the banks of the Ganga, and despite the hotel being issued closure notice in May, it had continued to take bookings.

Gopal Ram Binwal, sub-divisional magistrate of Pauri told TOI, “The hotel owner had kept the foreign tourists in dark about the ceiling activity and charged money from them in advance. He also promised them luxurious facilities, which was not provided. So the tourists were quite angry and had scuffle with the hotel owner when they were asked to vacate the rooms. However since now the hotel owner has shifted the tourists to another hotel at his expense. The tourists too had not registered any complaint against him , so no punitive action is being taken against him now.”

He said, the hotel has been sealed, and electricity and water supply too has been snapped.

Vinod Singhal, member secretary of the UEPPCB said, earlier NGT had issued closure notice for the hotels with 50 rooms and above which are situated on the banks of Ganga and have made no arrangement of sewage disposal but later on July 19, the bench included the hotels with 20 rooms and above as well.

According to tehsildar Shreshth Gunsola who sealed the premises, the hotel owner had two adjoining hotels, one of 35 rooms and adjoining hotel of 20 rooms. Owing to this order, the hotel owner had taken stay from high court saying that his hotel is only of 35 rooms. But with NGT’s new cap on hotels with 20 rooms and above, the stay on his hotel was lifted and, it was sealed on Thursday. Just a couple of days ago, another hotel at Haridwar too was sealed for same reason. Out of 9 hotels, which are to be closed, five are situated in Haridwar and Rishikesh.