The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monday decided to permit certain non-polluting tourism activities at Rohtang Pass, a 13,059-feet mountain peak near Manali, and its lower hills ahead of the upcoming tourist season.
A four-member bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar allowed activities like renting of local (Pahari) dresses and photography at Rohtang Pass. It allowed paragliding at Solang Nullah and Marhi and snow-scooters (four stroke) at Beas Nala Sagu Fall, and Gulaba.
“Not more than 50 ATVs shall be permitted to run in these areas, that too subject to verification,” the bench ordered in its 18-page long order
The NGT had in July 2015 imposed a ban on tourism-related activities at Rohtang Pass and its adjoining areas, holding that movement of vehicles and largescale tourism activities, including horse riding, snow biking, paragliding, tyre-tube gaming and snow scooters at Rohtang, Solang and Marhi, have caused serious degradation of environment and receding of the glaciers at Rohtang Pass.
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The NGT order made it clear that it would be appropriate to permit some activities at lower levels so that its consequences upon the environment and ecology could be observed.
“As far as Rohtang is concerned, we are completely unsatisfied with the proposals made as it is an extremely eco- sensitive area and cannot be subjected to further degradation on the mere assurance that the state government would take appropriate steps,” the bench said in its order. “The Tribunal will consider permitting other activities at Rohtang only after receipt of the report of the Commissioners…,”