With the National Green Tribunal (NGT) refusing to relax the ban on commercial activities at Rohtang Pass, Marhi and Solang Nala, various organisations, NGOs and local politicians have come together to chalk out a way to hep locals who are suffering heavily due to closure of tourism activities in the areas.
On Saturday, around 200 locals, small tourism activity operators, prominent politicians and local panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) representatives met at Manali to discuss the issue. Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) supremo Maheshvar Singh, Himalaya Niti Abhiyan national coordinator Guman Singh and Zila Parishad chairman Harichand Sharma were also present.
Talking to the media on Sunday, Guman Singh said the local community was in favour of running environment-friendly activities in Kullu-Manali to retain their livelihood, and they would soon submit an alternative tourism plan to the state government and the NGT.
"Under the alternative plan, eco-friendly shopping, picnic and parking spots will be raised at minimum six sites where the affected locals will be given shops on priority. Taxi owners who decide to convert their vehicles to CNG will be given government grants and all displaced will be given compensation for losses, new avenues of work and soft loan for restarting their business," he added.
Guman said the state government should ensure conclusive rehabilitation plan for the affected people, which must be based on scientific studies that address issues such as environment safeguards, sustainability and livelihood security of the community.
HLP chief and Kullu MLA Maheshwar Singh said he was not opposing the NGT orders, but the government should realise the impact of the orders. "It is also beyond my understanding why only one valley (Manali to Rohtang) has been targeted," he added.
Kullu Zila Parishad chairman Harichand Sharma said they would pass a resolution in the Gram Sabha to regulate tourism activities in a sustainable manner to provide jobs to locals.