Manali: Stern directives from National Green Tribunal (NGT) having forced state authorities to make a trial run of a CNG bus service between Manali and Rohtang top was successful as the first bus made the journey to the 13, 051 feet high pass yesterday without a hiccup or any engine exhaustion even in the cold high altitude conditions.
It was for the first time in country that a compressed natural gas run bus has reached such Himalayan heights without any mechanical complications. The trial run was arranged following NGTs directive to make Rohtang an emission free zone so as to preserve its ecology. The 27-seater bus from Delhi Transport Corporation left Manali for Rohtang at 6 am and within three hours covered the 51 Kms distance to reach the top. By 1 p.m the bus had made the return journey to Manali. The bus was seated to capacity, with all 27 seats being occupied by officials from administration, transportation department, CNG experts and police personnel, out testing the vehicles endurability.
Jyoti Rana, the sub-divisional magistrate at Manali disclosed to Hill Post that another trial run of the bus was scheduled for July 23/24 on the same route. Rana, who was monitoring the trial run said, “The bus reached Rohtang Pass without any problem. It was parked on Rohtang for over one hour to check if there will be any problem to restart the engine in harsh conditions. The bus was then brought back to Manali, again without any problems.
Official sources revealed that the Himachal Pradesh transport department has paid Rs 40 lakh to a private firm for conducting the trial run of CNG buses. A bus and three CNG tankers from Delhi under tight security reached Manali, a day before the trial run.
Fears of a clash with local taxi operators, who are looking at CNG buses as threat to their livelihood, looming against the trial run, the bus and the CNG tankers are being kept under tight security at Bahang, 6 Km from here.
Speaking to Hill Post, Rakesh Kanwar, the district magistrate said, “the trial was successful and second trial is expected to be conducted in presence of NGT observers.”
“The bus occupied to capacity reached Rohtang Top and returned safely to Manali without any problems,” said Kanwar.