NGT seeks govt reponse to limit vehicles plying on Rohtang Pass plea
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Thursday refrained from providing any immediate relief on a plea to relax its directives limiting the playing of diesel and petrol vehicles in Rohtang Pass, saying it would examine Himachal Pradesh government's stand on how it would address the grievances of tourist vehicle operators.india Updated: May 28, 2015 18:55 IST
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Thursday refrained from providing any immediate relief on a plea to relax its directives limiting the playing of diesel and petrol vehicles in Rohtang Pass, saying it would examine Himachal Pradesh government's stand on how it would address the grievances of tourist vehicle operators.
The green tribunal on May 5 had directed to limit the entry of diesel and petrol tourist vehicles to the 13,050 feet Rohtang Pass till August 14 to 1,000 per day.
The NGT bench headed by judicial member UD Salvi said the state government has to file an exhaustive reply on every aspect raised by taxi and luxury coach operators and tell how it proposes to address the problem.
The bench said its only concern was to "protect the environment" and it has taken a "measured approach".
"Our only approach is to protect the environment. We have taken measured steps to the problem. We can discipline ourselves but we can't discipline nature," it said while posting the hearing for Friday.
Senior advocate Vibha Dutt Makhija, appearing for taxi and luxury coach operators, said the Supreme Court has directed them to approach the green tribunal for redressal of their grievances.
"We are totally non-polluting vehicles in the eyes of law and are complying with all the conditions, but the environment compensation tax imposed on the vehicles as per the directions of the tribunal is arbitrary and discriminatory," she said.
Additional advocate general Surya Narayan Singh appearing for the Himachal Pradesh government said though it was complying with the NGT's directions but a serious law and order problem has arisen out of the order of green panel.
"People are sitting on dharna outside the deputy commissioner's office, regular strikes of taxi operators are taking place in the area and tourists coming to Manali are fleeing the state," he said.
He said Himachal Pradesh has undertaken several steps for environment protection including complete polythene ban and removal of 150 local dhabas from Manali-Rohtang areas. "We are supporting the taxi operators on certain conditions as situation on the ground is quite different," he added.