Jailed for polluting

In an unusual incident, a hotel manager in Puri, Orissa, was sentenced to five years of simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 by a Bhubaneswar environment court. The court said that the hotel and its manager were guilty of not complying with norms set under the Water (prevention & control of pollution) Act 1974.

In 1987, the Orissa state pollution control board told the court that the South-Eastern Railway hotel, a popular hotel in Puri, was discharging effluents into the Dhobi Sahi Nala that flows into the Bay of Bengal. The board then directed the hotel to set up an effluent-treatment facility within its premises by June 31, 1995. The hotel management, however, failed to comply with these orders. Again on October 18, 1996, the hotel management was asked to shut down the hotel until it installed a treatment plant. Even this was ignored. On January 18, 2000, the presiding officer of the special court, A K Mishra, said the hotel and its manager Ajit Kumar Haldar were guilty of polluting the environment. "Ajit Kumar Haldar is sentenced to undergo simple imprisonment for five years and to pay a fine of Rs 5,000. In default, he is to undergo simple imprisonment for a further period of one year,' Mishra said.

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