Manali private transporters’ strike continue

Shimla– The indefinite strike of Manali private transporters against National Green Tribunal’s order to weed out diesel vehicles and restricting the number of vehicles in Rohtang Pass area to 1,000 vehicles to keep check on pollution entered the sixth day today.The strike during the peak season has hit tourism not only in Kullu and Manlai areas but also in other tourist spots as a large number of tourists who had planned to visit three or four destinations in a circuit have cancelled their bookings. The tourists inflow is around 25 per cent less, said a hotelier in Manali. The NGT has directed the government to restrict the number of vehicles in Rohtang Pass area to 1,000, including 600 petrol-driven vehicles.

Further, environment cess of Rs 1,000 for petrol vehicles and Rs 2,500 for diesel vehicles for each visit has been imposed, adding to cost of transportation, said Pal. The NGT has fixed the next hearing on May 25 and the taxi operators union is demanding review of the NGT order while Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has assured the taxi operators that the government would impress on NGT to reconsider its decision. Taxi operators association had also filed appeal against the NGT order in the Supreme Court but did not get any immediate relief. With mercury rising in the plains and schools and colleges closed for summer vacation, tourists are preferring Shimla, Dalhousie, Chamba, Narkanda, Chail, Kasauli, Dharamsala, Palampur, while the tourists’ rush in Mandi-Kullu-Manali region has dropped considerably.

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 the local ecology.

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