NGT says no to paragliding, snow scooters at Rohtang
The National Green Tribunal today said no activities like paragliding and snow scooters would be permitted at Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh as the “extremely eco-sensitive area” cannot be subjected to further degradation.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, however, clarified that it would be appropriate to permit some activities at lower levels so that its consequences upon the environment and ecology could be observed.
“As far as Rohtang is concerned, we are completely unsatisfied with the proposals made as it is an extremely eco- sensitive area and cannot be subjected to further degradation on the mere assurance that the state government would take appropriate steps,” the bench said in its order.
The tribunal also said, “No activity of any kind would be permitted at Rohtang Pass except providing of local dresses and photography.”
Regarding operation of vehicles, the green panel said 800 petrol vehicles per day would be allowed to go to Rohtang instead of the 600 as permitted in its earlier order.
“We particularly deny any increase in the diesel vehicles which would be maintained at 400. All these vehicles which have maintained emission standards would be permitted to go to Rohtang. All these vehicles would operate as per the terms and conditions imposed by the authorities and the orders passed by the tribunal earlier,” it further said.
It also observed that people involved in providing local dresses for photography purposes would be permitted to carry on their activity at Rohtang, Solang, Gulaba and Marhi and those given permit to carry on these activities would be licensed which would be provided by the authority concerned.
It also said cameraman or the people providing these services would not be allowed to carry on any other ancillary activity or take eatables at any of the identified sites.
The bench appointed six advocates as local commissioners and asked them to file a comprehensive report before it about compliance of the terms and conditions of its orders.
It also said that these local commissioners would “pay greater emphasis as to the impact on environment and ecology, waste management, level of pollution and blackening of snow in that area”.
“The tribunal would consider permitting other activities at Rohtang only after receipt of report of the commissioners that are appointed under this order,” it said and asked them to file a report before it within three weeks.