SUBJECT :Climate change 

 In some good news for those planning to visit the Rohtang Pass in Himachal to beat the heat, the National Green Tribunal has allowed 100 more tourist vehicles to pass through the eco-sensitive area.

The panel, which had earlier permitted 800 petrol and 400 diesel vehicles to go beyond Manali on the Rohtang Pass road, has allowed more vehicles to the picturesque location to ensure that more tourists are accommodated.

“We hereby permit 100 more cars out of which 60 per cent would be petrol cars and 40 per cent diesel cars. The applicants under this category will be only tourists driving their own vehicles from Himachal Pradesh and other parts of the country.

“Seventyfive per cent of such applications would be granted permit under outside tourist category i.e. the tourist driving their own vehicles from outside Himachal Pradesh. The remaining 25 per cent would be the tourist from other districts of the Himachal Pradesh,” the circuit bench headed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The green panel announced that any vehicle, taxi or tourist, which is found to be violating any condition of the permit or directions of the NGT would be liable to pay Rs 5,000 as environmental compensation for such default.

“This amount shall be payable to the administration through police and other executing departments. In addition to fact that as and when the department of transport issues regular permits for running of vehicle, it shall not issue such a permit if the person is found to be defaulting more than three times, that permit for running vehicle shall stand cancelled and will not be renewed and computer programmed to reject the request,” the bench said.

On the issue of issuing permits, the bench held that online registration for permits to Rohtang should be opened at 10 am every morning and then again at 4 pm on the same day instead of 12 noon as done earlier.

“In variation to the practice presently being adopted by the administration, all persons concerned would be allowed to login and submit their application online at least a week in advance. In other words the person desiring to have a permit could apply one week in advance to the proposed date of travel,” it said.

It also directed installation of CCTV cameras on each check-post within a week for keeping a strict vigil in the area.

“These cameras would be connected to the computer and due records would be maintained of the vehicles which cross the barriers and go up to Rohtang for tourism purposes or even otherwise,” the bench said. — PTI

Source: The Tribune, Chandigarh