22 December 2012

Tanzania: Oceanic Hotel Ordered to Suspend Construction

TWO days after a verbal closure notice was issued to Double Tree Hotel in Dar es Salaam, Oceanic Hotel currently under construction in Masaki area has also been ordered to suspend its activities while the construction supervisor has been arrested.

Deputy Minister, Vice-President's Office (Environment), Mr Charles Kitwanga, told the 'Daily News on Saturday' that a 35m/- penalty has been slapped on the hotel management, for defying an order issued by the government. "Despite a lawful order issued by the National Environmental Management Council (NEMC) to Oceanic Hotel, they have refused to halt construction. We (the government) have ordered the arrest of the contractor," Kitwanga said.

The owner of the hotel was required to stop construction and cooperate with authorities, in compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedures. "The site engineer has been arrested and is in police custody. This is a long-term strategy to make sure no construction work starts unless approved by evaluators," Kitwanga said.

Meanwhile, Double Tree Hotel which was instructed to close down business two days ago, for failure to comply with NEMC standards, was officially served with a written notice to suspend operations. Mr Kitwanga said that letters signed by the Minister, Dr Terezya Huvisa, were dispatched, for the hotel management to respond immediately and close down business.

"The minister has signed two letters today; one instructs the suspension of activities at the hotel pending compliance to the notified inconsistency and the second revokes the environmental audited certificate," Mr Kitwanga explained. The deputy minister was elaborating on compulsory measures before resumption of activities at the hotel. "The government does not intend to harass or upset anyone.

All bussiness centres, industries and road construction projects must comply with Environmental Impact Assessment Standards," Kitwanga explained. He added: "A team of evaluators will be sent to the hotel for assessment and if satisfied, the hotel will be allowed to resume business," he insisted.

There are acceptable levels of sewage to be discharged to the sea, he added, but said the hotel administration had the obligation to install a purifier to meet the standards. A spot check at the hotel yesterday established that some of about 200 workers were not happy with the closure of the hotel fearing that they might lose their jobs. "As you can see, our business has been affected despite efforts made to repair the damage.

Some of our clients checked out yesterday. The problem has been dealt with and this will not happen again. Usually, we use trucks to collect waste, there was that small burst pipe, but now it has been fixed," the Hotel Sales Director, Florenso Kirambata, explained. After Double Tree was punished, the government also announced closure of Giraffe Ocean View hotel for similar problem.

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