Only 1000 Vehicles to Pass Through Rohtang Per Day: NGT

New Delhi
Only 1000 Vehicles to Pass Through Rohtang Per Day: NGT

Noting that tourist season in Rohtang Pass would commence shortly, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has extended its stay on its order banning entry of all diesel and petrol tourist vehicles till August 14 while limiting the number of vehicles entering the popular area to 1,000 per day.

"The ban on diesel and petrol tourist vehicles would be kept in abeyance for the period of three months from May 15, 2015 to August 15, 2015 as prayed, however, subject to strict compliance," a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

Restricting the number of vehicles, which will pass through Rohtang Pass for tourism purposes, to 1000 vehicles (600 petrol while 400 would be diesel) per day on first come and first serve basis, the tribunal directed that each vehicle allowed to the region would pay an environmental cess.

"Each vehicle which is permitted to Rohtang Pass for tourism purpose shall pay environmental compensation at the rate of Rs 1000 for petrol vehicle and Rs 2500 for diesel vehicle.

"Amount so collected shall be kept in the account under a separate head by the state government and shall be utilised only for the purpose of restoration of ecology and environment in the said eco-sensitive area as per the directions of the Tribunal," the bench said.

It also directed the state government to post a team of Transport Department, police and other departments concerned at Vashist and Gulaba with complete infrastructure and machinery.

"Every vehicle passing through either of these check posts would be subjected to online pollution check which shall be in any case computerised at the site itself.

"The vehicle permitted to pass through Rohtang Pass to ultimate destination and beyond, shall satisfy emission standards prescribed and it shall not be permitted to carry load in excess of permissible load. Entry records in this regard shall be online and computerised and same shall be produced before the tribunal," it said.

The green panel said that all these vehicles would be subjected to pollution check and would qualify for issuance of a certificate at the check post for compliance of BS-IV standards.

"If emissions are found to be beyond the aforesaid permissible limits such vehicle will not be permitted to go to Rohtang Pass," the bench said.

The tribunal also said that each vehicle which carries more than six passengers would be liable to pay compensation of Rs 5000 as environmental compensation and these charges are payable for single entry.

It directed state government to make proper arrangement and deploy appropriate staff en route Vashist to Rohtang Pass to ensure that there is no traffic congestion.

"We direct state of Himachal Pradesh to take up the issue of devising methodology for providing BS-IV fuel in the state of Himachal Pradesh with Ministry of Petroleum.

"We issue these directions to Chief Secretary, Himachal Pradesh, Director General of Police, Collector of Kullu, Superintendent of Police and Director Tourism and they shall be personally responsible for carrying out these directions," the tribunal said.

The green panel directed the state to take all requisite steps and call upon meeting of manufacturers and suppliers of vehicles for supplying CNG vehicles to ensure that there is least pollution in the eco-sensitive area of Rohtang Pass.

Rohtang Pass is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km from Manali and connects Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.

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