Worried about losing their livelihood, residents of the district have urged the state government to take necessary steps to regulate tourism activities at the Rohtang Pass in compliance with the National Green Tribunal (NGT)'s directives to protect the area's ecology.
Locals said the tribunal should ask the government to provide adequate environmental infrastructure in the area and ensure enforcement of the relevant laws.
Talking to this reporter, Suresh Acharya, a native of Kullu said: "Here in this district hundreds of residents depend on tourism to feed their families. Many have purchased snow scooters, mountain bikes and taxis to earn their livelihood and, if tourism activities in the area are completely banned, it would adversely impact its economy. The state government has already failed to provide jobs for young people in the state and in such miserable conditions it will become difficult to keep afloat."
Many locals said the district administration and the state government should take stringent measures to implement the NGT's directives. They said a complete ban on tourism activities at the Rohtang Pass and surrounding areas would spell doom for the residents of Kullu district, where tourism is the biggest sector of the economy after farming and horticulture and provided jobs to thousands.
Anup Thakur, president of the Kullu-Manali Hoteliers Association, said: "Both the district administration and the state government have failed to implement the NGT's orders and we urge the courts to direct the government to provide alternatives for sustainable tourism in Kullu district as well as strengthen infrastructure to protect the ecology of the Rohtang Pass."
When contacted over the issue, Kullu deputy commissioner Rakesh Kanwar said: "The district administration has not yet received the copy of the NGT's latest order. The state government will soon submit its reply on the matter to the tribunal."