Govt penalises firms for flouting green norms

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Environment Ministry asks Health Ministry to ensure health facilities comply with environment law

Feb 26, 2018-Population and Environment Minister Lalbabu Pandit has decided to penalise the hotels, hospitals and industries for violating the provisions related to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The meeting held at the ministry on Sunday decided to penalise three hotels in Kathmandu - Hotel Siddhi, Kathmandu Guest House, and Dwarika’s Hotel for not abiding by the existing EIA standards. 

These hotels have been slapped with a fine of Rs 100,000 for ignoring the compulsory EIA, according to Washim Alam, minister’s personal aide.

“These hotels were penalised after they were found breaching the EIA provisions. Some had even started their operation without conducting the EIA,” said Alam. 

Besides booking for violations, these hotels have also been told to conduct the EIA study. 

Responding to the decision, the manager of Kathmandu Guest House Navin Shrestha said that they had conducted the EIA study and also submitted the report to the ministry. 

“We have the EIA report. We have submitted the report nearly eight months ago at the ministry,” said Shrestha.

Soaltee City Apartment, Rabibhawan, has also been fined with Rs 100,000 for violating the EIA provisions.

Besides hotels and housing projects, the ministry has also penalised industries outside the Kathmandu Valley. The Araniko Cement Industries Pvt. Ltd was found operating without fulfilling the EIA requirements. 

“Earlier, it had conducted EIA that showed the industry would be based in Satabariya of Dang, but it had set up its plant in Abukhaireni of Tanahu,” said Alam, adding that the cement manufacturer was fined with Rs 50,000 and asked to immediately meet the EIA provisions. 

Kamala Rolling Mills Pvt Ltd in Tankisinuwari of Morang and Kathmandu Dairy Distribution Project were also found not in compliance with the government’s EIA standards. They were also handed a fine of Rs 50,000 each and ordered to meet the EIA standards.

The minister has also decided to punish four hospitals - Nepal National Hospital, Kalanki; International Friendship Children’s Hospital, Maharajgunj; Kathmandu Model Hospital Bhrikutimandap; and Kathmandu Hospital, Tripureshwor - for ignoring the required Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) study. 

“The ministry has written a letter to the Health Ministry for bringing these hospitals under the compliance and conduct the IEE at the earliest,” said Alam. 

The EIA study was made mandatory by the Environment Protection Act 1997. According to the data with the ministry,  EIA reports of 294 projects have been approved till July 20, 2017 since the provision became mandatory. 

However, the EIA provisions have been found snubbed, mostly by hospitals, medical colleges and hotels.

Last fiscal year, the government had fined six projects for not abiding by the EIA. 

As per the Act, the EIA approval is mandatory for hospitals or nursing homes with more than 100 beds. 

The provision is also a must for any proposal of establishing and operating of hotels with a capacity exceeding 100 beds, residential and commercial buildings with an area or floor area spanning over 10,000 sq metres. 

Published: 26-02-2018 08:01

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