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June 05, 2012

Kerala High Court Rules In Favour Of Hotels In Waste Management Row

http://www.hospitalitybizindia.com/detailNews.aspx?aid=13753&sid=1
 
05 June 2012

Mumbai: The city corporation in Thiruvanthapuram that has been issuing closure notices to hotels functioning without waste treatment plants in the city has been pulled up by a high court order. Following a petition filed by the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association, the court has held that if a hotel did not have space or if there was an objection from the neighbouring shop owners for setting up the treatment plant, it was for the corporation to make arrangement to collect waste and treat it at the cost of the hotel.

The ruling that has come in favour of the hotel owners dismayed the corporation officials. The health standing committee has been slamming notices on all the hotels that function without a waste treatment plant, ever since the garbage crisis has started bugging the city.

A deadline was also set for the hotels and it was pointed out that their licences would not be renewed if the owner fails to comply with the conditions mentioned in the notice.

"The order has come at a bad time. We had asked the hotel owners to set up plants in plots far away from their hotels. With this order there is no way corporation can ask them to get on with the project," said a health inspector of the corporation.

The association members had claimed that the time span allotted for them to set up the plants was too short which the court upheld in its ruling. The court also maintained that section 334 of the Kerala Municipalities Amendment ordinance visualises waste management by corporation, which had to be maintained in a centralised manner.

The court has also directed the corporation to help the hotels in setting up the waste plant. A health official said that it would be very hard to maintain the waste from hotels with the court terming it as the corporation's responsibility.

"In a way it has made us helpless. We could have persuaded the hotels into processing the waste themselves. Now the corporation cannot do so that as it would be against the court order," he said, according to a report by The Times Of India.

The ruling also said that no hotel should be closed down and no fine should be charged unless the hotels fail to either process the waste to the satisfaction of the corporation or fail to pay the fees fixed by the corporation to collect the waste and treat the same. "Paying fees to collect the waste from the hotels is not all the issue. The question is what to do with the collected waste," the official said. We had asked the hotel owners to set up plants in plots far away from their hotels. With this order there is no way, the corporation can ask them to get on with the project.