The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary, among other authorities, to monitor and coordinate the issue related to the protection of ecology in Manali and Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh.
“We hope constant vigil will be maintained for the protection of ecology and review meetings will continue to be held at the level of Chief Secretary periodically,” the bench headed by NGT chief, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (retd) said in a recent order.
Proceedings commenced on the basis of a letter addressed to the Himachal Pradesh High Court’s Chief Justice with the grievance that 4,000-5,000 vehicles were making round trips from Manali to Rohtang Pass resulting in huge pollution and damage to the environment.
In the decade-old matter, on October 21, 2010, a division bench of the high court directed the Chief Secretary, to come up with an appropriate proposal in the matter to control the vehicular movement.
In the latest development in the issue, on July 30, 2020, in the light of status report dated June 29 last year under different headings, the direction was issued for taking further steps and filing an updated status report. The matter was last considered on June 8 in the light of a report dated January 21, filed by the state’s Principal Secretary, Environment, giving the status of ropeways, sewage treatment plant, parking facilities, eco-friendly market, solid waste management facility, nature park, electric buses, air quality and vehicular emissions, and testing of samples from the STP.
The representative of the Transport Department submitted that there are 25 electric buses that are operated on the Manali-Rohtang stretch by the Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation. Seven charging points have been provided at Manali, four at Kullu and four at Mandi for their smooth operation.
In the latest submission, the Member-Secretary, HPPCB submitted that the Regional Office, Kullu is continuously monitoring the ambient air quality of the Rohtang area at all specified locations, along with the vehicular emission checking-cum-awareness. He further informed that the AAQ parameters such as NOx and SO2 are within prescribed limits.