Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
Affected families seek rehabilitation
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.