Putting the health of people eating out at risk, a large number of eateries are running without mandatory health licence in south and West Delhi.
According to the official figure provided by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), over one third of the eateries in South Delhi are running without mandatory health licences from the municipal corporation. However, well-placed sources in the civic body said that numbers are 10 times higher than the official figure.
Official figure of the SDMC said that out of 1,576 establishments, which need health licences, 544 are running without it. Flouting rules, eating outlets and other commercial establishment like health centres and gym, which require health licences, are operating in all four municipal zones of the corporation.
In and interesting revelation by the official in Nazafgarh zone, outlets sans the health licences outnumber the licensed ones. In Nazafgarh, 151 establishments are running without the licence, while mere 141 operate with licences. The situation is similar in other municipal zones.
In the central zone, where posh and prominent South Delhi markets are housed, 113 outlets are running illegally. Other posh areas like Lajpat Nagar, Greater Kailash, New Friends Colony fall under the Central zone.
Hundred and twenty establishment are functioning without licences in South zone. Famous Hauz Khas Village, Green Park and Malviya Nagar come under the municipal limit of the South zone. In West zone, out of 362 outlets, 160 are operating without health licence.
In the famous Hauz Khas Village, as many as 42 restaurants, 57 fashion stores, 40 art galleries and 20 film studios are in operation.
“Only 27 of these commercial units have obtained health and trade licences from the municipal corporation” said a senior officer.
Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed closure of 34 restaurants in the area after a petition was filed against it claiming that they are polluting the 14th-century village. The area has a lake, a green belt and ruins of archaeological importance in the vicinity of the restaurants.
However, sources said that the figure is an eyewash to save the corrupt officials of the civic body. "According to official figures, only 1,576, establishments are in operation with or without the health licences in four municipal zones. Numbers are 10 times higher than that of the official figure," said leader of the House in SDMC, Subhash Arya.
He blamed the officials of health department for not issuing the health licences. "By making licensing process hard, officials are making illegal money by taking bribe," Arya added.
He hoped that after simplifying the licensing process more and more people will come out and legalise their businesses.