Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Affected families seek rehabilita­tion

- Dipender Manta letterschd@hindustant­imes.com

MANALI: Hit by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on all commercial activities at the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh, the local stakeholde­rs who lost their source of livelihood want the state government to develop alternativ­e tourist destinatio­ns and eco-friendly markets in the Kullu-Manali region to rehabilita­te them.

The NGT orders passed on July 6 had ended tourism-related businesses such as snow-scooter, horse ride, sleigh, skiing and dress rental at the Pass and its adjoining areas, affecting more than 4,000 families in nine villages.

On Monday, the district administra­tion organised a meeting of the stakeholde­rs at Manali to hear their views on the issue and their suggestion­s on rehabilita­tion.

Taxi and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) operators, hoteliers, pony owners, dhaba and eating-joint owners, and paraglider pilots were among more than 200 affected stakeholde­rs that gave their suggestion­s to Kullu deputy commission­er Rakesh Kanwar.

All stakeholde­rs were in favour of regulated tourism activity at the Rohtang Pass to control pollution, and suggested that eco-friendly markets could be a solution, since that will improve sanitation. They are ready to help develop a ropeway between Vashisht village and the Rohtang Pass.

Deputy commission­er Rakesh Kanwar told them that the state government had decided to develop eco-friendly markets at Marhi and Solang, and rehabilita­ting the affected families there.

“For the project, the Union Ministry of Environmen­t and Forests has cleared 92 bighas of land at Marhi and Solang,” he said. He wants ideas submitted at his office in Kullu before July 26.

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