The Supreme Court, earlier in the week, refused to grant any kind of relief to Manali taxi owners regarding the movement of traffic to Rohtang Pass. It . Taxi owners had challenged the National Green Tribunal’s order which restricts the daily number of vehicles permitted to get to the environmentally sensitive high altitude pass.
The Supreme Court said that the order of NGT was in favor of the ecology and the environment. The apex court also said that vehicular pollution and traffic cannot be allowed to destroy this natural balance.
The Taxi Association had pleaded before the court for relaxing the restrictions for some time as the summer tourist season was about to begin. They had sought an increase in the number of cars that could be allowed to go to the pass. The court has asked the Solicitor General to evaluate the NGT order and submit a report about it.
The prevailing NGT order permits a daily quota of only 600 petrol and 400 diesel vehicles to go up in the Rohtang Pass, thereby restricting tourists access to to the palace. The taxi owners have pleaded that it was their only means of livelihood and because of the restrictions imposed, they were suffering.
They had also contended that tourists were facing a lot of inconvenience and there were long queues for obtaining permits to Rohtang top. The permits are issued on a first come first serve basis and are required to pay an environmental fee for usage of this road.
The next hearing of this case is on 25th April.