Himachal Pradesh government has rejected the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) proposal to only ply compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet high ), a famous tourists destination, 51 km from Manali.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh who was in Manali last week said “a world exists even beyond Rohtang Pass. It was not feasible to ply CNG buses only till Rohtang.”
Virbhadra Singh said his government was committed to the preservation of environment and ecology of the State and had always supported the environmental issues, however the matter would be taken up with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for reviewing the decision in larger interest of the locals. The livelihood of many people of Kullu-Manali including taxi drivers, Dhaba owners was being affected with the decision of NGT, he said.
During his tour, a large number of locals affected by the NGT order, which also proposed the removal of all dhabas and illegal structures (tea stalls and eating joints), had met him and asked the state government to intervene. A dozen leading environmental groups under the banner of Himalaya Niti Abhiyan had also written to the state government.
The NGT in its order, last month, had said that no tourists vehicle more than 15 years old should be permitted and the government should, instead, make CNG buses operational on the route to Rohtang Pass for tourists. It had also ordered removal of dhabas enroute to Rohtang Pass.
CM Virbhadra said that NGT’s move to close the Dhabas at Madhi just below Rohtang pass was counterproductive. There were many European Nations with lush green pastures and meadows where people run their business to on the condition that they keep their environs clean, said Virbhadra. There is no harm if such facilities are available at Madahi for tourists and other passengers, he added.
The chief minister, however, feels there was no reason for opposing the rope-way to Rohtang – also recommended by the National Green tribunal. He admitted that too many vehicles reaching Rohtang Pass rather spoil the natural grandeur of snow therefore setting up rope-way was not a matter to be opposed.
“There is no ban on those who want to visit Rohtang by their cars or Taxis, but I think the tourists who want to enjoy the real beauty of the mighty Rohtang covered with white blanket of snow will definitely love to go by rope-ways” said the chief minister.
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