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Any building, hotel, dharmashala and ashram in Haridwar having more than 20 rooms or a built up area of over 10,000 square feet, will have to install its own sewage treatment plant (STP), the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has said.

The tribunal said that sewage load on river Ganga and its tributaries was the main source of pollution of the river in Uttarakhand as the discharge of domestic waste and sewage was directly released into it.

“We further direct that any building, hotel, dharmashala and ashram with more than 20 rooms or a built up area of more than 10,000 square feet shall have its own STP/ biodigester,”a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The green panel said that most of the hotels, dharamshalas and ashrams in Haridwar were releasing the sewage and domestic waste directly into the river or throwing it into a drain which carries these near to the STP at Jagjeet Nagar.

600 hotels

Besides a large number of ashrams and dharamshalas, there were nearly 600 hotels in Rishikesh and Haridwar out of which only few hotels have obtained consent from Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board, the tribunal was told.

During the hearing, the board conveyed to the green panel that they have issued closure notice to 12 hotels out of which three have been closed and sealed.

“We direct that all the 9 remaining hotels, to whom the closure notices have been issued, should be closed/sealed and their water and electricity be disconnected in regard to the provisions of the Act of 2006 within one week from today if not already been done,” the bench said.PTI