Planning to ride to Rohtang Pass this season? You might want to reconsider your route as the Supreme Court has limited the entry of tourist vehicles to Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh to 1,000 per day. According to the new directive, only 600 petrol and 400 diesel vehicles can ply to Rohtang Pass. All the vehicles would be subjected to pollution checks and must comply with BS-IV standards before entering the 13,050 feet pass that links Kullu Valley to the remote district of Lahaul and Spiti.
Moreover, the vehicles going up to Rohtang Pass will have to pay an environmental cess as well. While diesel vehicles owners will have to pay Rs 2,500, people travelling in a petrol vehicle will have to shell out Rs 1,000 to go up to Rohtang Pass. The family guys and backpackers in groups are likely to suffer more as each vehicle with more than six passengers is liable to pay compensation of Rs 5,000 as environmental compensation for single entry.
Image Source: Wikipedia
While the taxi operators have got the support from the Himachal Pradesh government, a vacation bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and UU Lalit said the operators could argue their case before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) which would give them expeditious hearing. Himachal Pradesh government does agree to the fact that there were lot of problems in complying with the directives of the NGT.
The bench asked the taxi operators to file their application within a week and requested the NGT to consider it on the next available day of hearing. Him-Aanchal Taxi Operators Union, through senior advocate Vibha Dutt Makhija, submitted that the NGT order was coming in the way of not only taxi operators but also the middle-class tourists.
This decision from the Supreme Court comes at the time of peak tourism season. The region heavily depends upon the income earned from the tourists and this decision is likely to have a great impact on the local business operators.
With inputs from PTI