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Delhi HC raises concerns over safety in Hauz Khas Village

Delhi HC raises concerns over safety in Hauz Khas Village

The Delhi High Court on Monday raised serious concerns over safety of the people visiting restaurants and pubs running in the Hauz Khas Village in violation of building by-laws and the master plan.

“If there is a terrorist attack, how will NSG commandos reach the spot on time,” asked a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar, noting that most of the restaurants have single point of entry and exit and there is no emergency exit point provided by the owners.

It also raised concern over security saying how fire tenders or emergency vehicles would enter roads which are just six metres wide and how would they turn around.

“Delhi is in a mess… It’s not fair to the city,” the bench said while observing that people running businesses cannot make profit at the cost of public’s life.

It also added that owners have to comply with the law to run their business in the area.

The court asked the Delhi Jal Board to inspect and file a report about the source of water for the restaurants at the village and and also the number of effective bore-wells in that area.

The Archaeological Survey of India was also asked to inform it whether the eateries – Social, Smoke House and Yeti – have their boundary walls attached with the protected monument.

Noting that over 100 restaurants are “running neck to neck in that small area”, the court had earlier slammed authorities for permitting conversion of residential buildings into commercial ones without following the building bye-laws and the master plan requirements.

The court was hearing two PILs claiming illegal constructions and encroachments in Hauz Khas Village. Earlier, it had asked authorities to ensure strict enforcement of law in the area.

Hauz Khas Village — a hub of restaurants, pubs, art galleries and fashion studios — in south Delhi came under the scanner of the High Court after PILs said that a number of restaurants were running illegally, bars serving liquor without licence and no safety norms were being followed by them.

There is gross violation of emergency exit, according to the pleas. In all, 120 restaurants and pubs have come up in the area in the past 10 years without any building plan approval from the SDMC, said the pleas, seeking a complete ban on pubs and bars running illegally in the village.

The court was also informed that out of 166 commercial units, only five have fire clearance.

The court has now posted the matter for hearing on September 26.

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