Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court today directed the state authorities to remove all unauthorized food stalls and dhabas polluting forest areas beyond Mardhi on the Manali-Rohtang highway.
Hearing a petition taken up suo moto on the harm caused to Rohtang glacier due to pollution the bench of Chief Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice RB Mishra directed the state to observe zero tolerance level with regard to pollution in forest areas beyond Mardhi.
The division bench directed the state authorities to ensure that all the unauthorized food stalls and dhabas there were removed forthwith in a time bound period.
The court asked the state authorities for providing substitute mobile vans to supply food and drinking items to the tourists, which responsibility should be taken by the HP Tourism department.
The tourism department and HP Tourism Corporation was granted time to evolve a comprehensive scheme for ensuring that littering taking place in forest area essentially due to the presence of unauthorized food stalls was stopped at the earliest.
Before posting the matter for 2 May, the court clarified that pendency of the petition or preparation of comprehensive scheme will not be a hurdle for the state authorities to immediately proceed against the unauthorized eateries in restricted and forest area in accordance with law.
Rohtang Pass happens to be one the most visited place by tourists in Himachal and the district administration has a difficult time in regulating traffic to the scenic spot.
It was only yesterday that Border Roads Organisation announced having cleared the high pass road of snow and permitting limited number of vehicles to pass through to Lahaul valley. The road would only be thrown open for public transport in May.