The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on taking vehicles to the environmentally sensitive Rohtang pass tourist snow point in Himachal Pradesh is relaxed till November 30.
Suryanarayan Singh, Himachal Pradesh senior additional advocate general in Delhi, said the tribunal had relaxed the ban on Tuesday and, on Wednesday, directed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) to provide the hill state with CNG (compressed natural gas) buses and fuelling facility, respectively, to deal with air pollution because of vehicular emissions. The case was listed before the NGT in New Delhi.
On May 5, the NGT had allowed just 1,000 vehicles (600 petrol and 400 diesel) to come to the pass each day — but only for tourism purposes and just for three months of peak tourist season from May 15 to August 14. Annoyed with the state’s efforts to contain pollution in the eco-sensitive zone, the NGT had asked it to minimise the traffic to Rohtang. The next hearing is on September 17 in Shimla.
At the end of three months, the Kullu district administration put a blanket ban on plying vehicles to Rohtang for tourism purposes, which brought the tourism industry of Kullu and Manali into peril. Earlier, the tribunal had imposed environmental compensation fee of Rs 2,500 and Rs 1,000 per day on diesel and petrol vehicles, respectively, that were going to the pass for tourist purposes; but later stayed that order on May 29. The fee on vehicles with a seating capacity of more than five was Rs 5,000 each per day.