Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding steps for eco balance in Rohtang Pass area, Himachal Pradesh, 06/05/2019
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Court on its own motion Vs State of Himachal Pradesh & Others dated 06/05/2019 regarding steps for eco balance in Rohtang Pass area in the State of Himachal Pradesh. The area is eco-sensitive and frequented by the tourists.
History of the Case:
The Tribunal on 06/02/2014 issued directions to regulate traffic and take effective steps for solid waste management. The direction included restriction on permitting horses. Subsequent directions were issued to check waste burning, forest fires and pollution caused by human activities.
On 16/07/2015, directions were issued to regulate number of persons to be permitted to cross Rohtang and to explore CNG and electric vehicles, set up ropeways, take steps for afforestation etc. On further review, directions were issued for prohibiting use of plastic, providing eco-friendly toilets at certain locations, reforestation, setting up eco-friendly markets and removal of encroachments.
After going through the status report furnished on behalf of the State of Himachal Pradesh on 20.08.2018, it has come to the notice of the NGT that the most critical aspect of construction of Palchan – Rohtang Ropeway was unduly delayed on account of absence of forest clearance. Further, direction was for the timeline for parking facilities at Gulaba Beas Nallah (below Marhi) and below Rohtang and a new STP.
The latest status report filed on 06/05/2019 mentions that in principle approval has been granted by the Regional Office, MoEF&CC, Dehradun for diversion of the forest land for the project of Ropeway. Progress has also been indicated on the subject of setting up and upgradation of a STP at Manali and eco-friendly market at Marhi.
The NGT directs steps to be taken expeditiously, keeping in view the coming tourist season and the potential harm to the environment. Further, the Court upheld the number of vehicles, since the carrying capacity of the area is limited. Further status report to be filed after three months.