Counting the cost

on march 14, 2002, the Supreme Court (sc) slapped an "exemplary damage' of Rs 10 lakh on Span Motels Private Limited (smpl), a resort in which former Union environment minister Kamal Nath's wife is a major shareholder, for causing environmental degradation by changing the course of Beas river. The judgement was set to serve as "a deterrent for others not to cause pollution in any manner'.

The Himachal Pradesh (hp) government was also pulled up for "patent breach of trust' by leasing ecologically fragile land to the motel, which is located in Kullu Manali. Significantly, the apex court applied the