To protect the ecology of the Rohtang Pass, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the Chief Secretary to constitute a committee and also come up with a concrete proposal to reduce vehicular traffic to Rohtang near Manali.
The order was passed by the green Bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol on a public interest litigation where in the main grievance of the petitioner was that everyday on an average 4,000-5,000 private vehicles make a round trip from Manali to Rohtang that causes a lot of pollution in the area. Sometimes it takes 6-7 hours to travel the short distance of about 50 km between Manali and Rohtang. The Bench observed that there the increasing traffic to Rohtang was causing damage to the environment. To reduce the traffic in the area, the Bench suggested that only public buses should be allowed to ferry tourists to Rohtang so that private vehicle did not travel this distance. Another suggestion given was that to restrict the number of tourist vehicles allowed to visit Rohang Pass. The Bench said if necessary, fees could also be levied in this regard.
However, the Bench clarified that while considering these proposal the committee shall ensure that the right of the people of Lauhal Spiti were not affected in any manner. This matter was brought to the notice of the court through a letter addressed to the Chief Justice by one Sanjay Kulshethra where he had urged the HC’s intervention for conserving the glacier of the Rohtang Pass, which is being affected by automobile-induced environment pollution. While treating the letter as a petition, the Bench had directed the Chief Secretary to submit a status report in this regard on or before December 16.