Mussoorie: Activists warn MoEF about ecological danger

Mussoorie: Activists warn MoEF about ecological danger

How many hotels are there in Mussoorie – the queen of Indian hills?

According to the records maintained by the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB) there are only 8 hotels. Going by the municipal authority (Nagar Palika Parishad), 207 hotels, lodges and commercial rest houses exist in this picturesque hill town of Uttarakhand.

In reality, the popular tourist destination harbours close to 1,000 hotels, lodges, guest houses and other commercial accommodations according to the environmentalists, who note that such an unregulated and unplanned growth in tourism is detrimental to the heritage and environment of Mussoorie.

Out of those eight hotels in the UEPPCB records, only six took consent to establish and operate under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

Last month, the activists approached the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest with a plea to save Mussoorie from such an onslaught.

The popularity of the hill station brings tourists from all over the country, often creating huge traffic jams, particularly during the vacation time.

But the authorities have a patchy record on the number of heavy and light vehicles entering the city and no assessment of the damage caused by the vehicular pollution was carried out by the state government.

 Data of vehicle entry is maintained and provided only from 2009-2013. Even for 2014 and 2015, complete records do not exist. Beyond 2015, the Municipal Council has no records at all.

A general analysis of the vehicle entry figures show that in June 2010, on an average, 3,132 cars/jeeps entered this small town, besides 132 buses, 119 matadoors and 71 two-wheelers. The numbers were in the similar range till the Kedarnath disaster happened in 2013, when a dip was seen. In subsequent years, there's no data but tourist flow picked up once again.

As per the pollution control board records, no sewage treatment plants have been installed so far in Mussoorie to treat tonnes of waste water and sewage generated by the tourism industry.

The records obtained by environmentalists through the Right to Information act, show four STPs are under construction at Bhattafall, Landour South, Landour North and Kulri. There is not a single treatment plants to treat trade effluents emanating from commercial restaurants and other food joints.

“Our plea to the ministry is to undertake a carrying capacity study for Mussoorie and surrounding areas, restrict the traffic, maintain proper records of hotels and restaurants, as well as the vehicles entering the town and implement the green laws. Else Mussoorie will lose all its charm and the country would not get another hill station as magnificent as Mussoorie,” Akash Vashishtha, a lawyer and green activist told DH.

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