With heavy entry & congestion fee NGT allows plying of diesel vehicles
BY MEETANJALI SOOD • MAY 5, 2015
National Green Tribunal today gave little respite to tourist vehicles plying on the gateway to Lahaul Spiti Rohtang Pas after deciding to levy heavy entry and congestion fee for period of next three month considering the request of state to wave of blanket ban on diesel vehicle imposed by its circuit bench here recently.
Petitioners and tourists transporters informed Himvani that Principal bench of NGT at New DELHI comprising of Chairperon Mr. Justice Swatanter Kumar, expert members Dr. Devendra Kumar Agrawal and Mr. Bikram Singh Sajwan granted three-month relaxation for plying of diesel vehicles for next three months.
However the bench decided to allow limited number of 1000 vehicles for tourist purpose daily up to Vashistha Barrier including 600 petrol and 400 diesel vehicles every day. These vehicles to be levy congestion charges, if they go beyond Vashistha Barrier at rate of Rupees 1000 per petrol and Rupees 2500 per diesel vehicle and Rupees 5000 each for vehicles having seating capacity of more than six passengers .
Earlier on April 17, 2015 NGT had banned movement of all diesel vehicles across Rohtang Pass near Manali. The tribunal in its earlier order had directed the state government to post adequate staff to check that diesel vehicles do not move towards Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet), located 52 km from Manali.
It had asked the government to immediately take steps to ensure to-and-fro plying of CNG buses from Vashisht (in Manali) to Rohtang. These buses will be only for the purpose of tourism and no other tourist buses or private vehicles will be permitted to go to the pass. This condition should be enforced without default now, since there has been consistent non-compliance and no effective steps have been taken by the state in this regard.
Excessive emission of carbon monoxide from the vehicles and huge quantities of trash left behind by tourists on the Rohtang Pass are taking a heavy toll on the snow cover, says the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), a Nagpur based institute that has carried out studies on the impact of pollution on local ecology.
The report has said that Rohtang Pass, located in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas is visited by 18,000 to 20,000 tourists every day, mainly between May and September. In May, the number of vehicles plying on the pass is around 3,200 every day, of which 80 percent are cars.