The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned the entry of diesel-fuelled tourist vehicles into the Rohtang Pass in May 2015. Now, the Tribunal has banned all two-wheelers (motorcycles and scooters) from entering this eco-sensitive location. Those who would like to visit this scenic location will now have to take special permission and require a permit to enter the Pass. This piece of news could be a heartbreaker for those who love the challenge of riding their two-wheelers through the beautiful, yet treacherous 13,000 feet high pass.
Apart from the ban on two-wheelers, the NGT has also imposed an immediate ban on all tourist and commercial activities. Commercial entities at Kullu such as eateries will soon be shut down following the NGT’s order. Recreational activities such as horse riding, paragliding, and riding of snow scooters and all-terrain vehicles (ATV) have been banned too. The ban on these activities applies at locations such as Solang and Marhi as well, albeit shops at Marhi have been granted permission to continue operations as long as they stick to the guidelines laid out by the NGT.
ATV activities have been banned too (Image for representation purpose only)
The ban on tourism will hit those who depend on the heavy flow of traffic to sustain their livelihood. However, recent studies of the area suggest that the glaciers have been affected due to the harmful pollutants belched out by thousands of vehicles that pass through this location. The NGT has also gone ahead and issued a ‘show cause’ notice to the Himachal Pradesh Government, asking the latter why tourist activities should not be curbed at the Rohtang Pass.
As a passionate motorcyclist, do you think the ban on motorcycling activities at the pass is bit too extreme? Or do you think, citing the delicate environmental causes, this move by the National Green Tribunal is valid? Let us know of your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.