Paragliding ban in Himachal’s Rohtang to continue: NGT

New Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) Refusing to relent on its order to ban commercial activities at the picturesque tourist spot Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday refused to permit paragliding in the eco-sensitive area, and warned penal action against violators.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the paragliding association to prepare a plan to ensure pollution-less adventure-related activities in the area.

“You (paragliding) are the most polluting one. You throw plastic, foil papers, water bottles and other waste. We are not going to allow you like this,” said the bench while hearing a plea by private paragliding operators to allow them to conduct adventure sports.

“We will impose a cost of Rs.1 lakh on you if you will not ensure cleanliness,” it said.

Directing them to prepare a draft plan with regard to the operation of paragliding, the bench observed: “Until the state government concurs with your plan, we will not say anything.”

The NGT has imposed a complete ban on commercial activities including paragliding, snow scooter ride and horse-riding at Rohtang Pass and its adjoining areas.

It has limited the passing of vehicles on the Rohtang Pass, located 52 km from Manali in Kullu district and much frequented by tourists, to check environmental degradation.

Initially, the tribunal had banned all types of tourist vehicles.

Later, it relaxed its order till November 30, limiting the entry of diesel and petrol tourist vehicles to the Rohtang Pass to 1,000 per day.

It had directed each vehicle, permitted to pass through Rohtang Pass, to pay environmental compensation at the rate of Rs.1,000 for petrol vehicle and Rs.2,500 for diesel vehicle.

The NGT had observed that the ice mass on the Rohtang Pass was reducing rapidly due to vehicular pollution and may vanish altogether in the next 20-25 years.

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