Manali: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) insistence for setting up a passenger ropeway to Rohtang Pass for reducing vehicular traffic to the popular tourist spot has come unstuck as villagers mandated with issuing a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the contentious project have rejected the proposal at a public meeting conducted by the government authorities here today.
The public meeting organised by the district administration and the tourism department was held at the Manali circuit house.
Members of the Palchan Panchayat, from where the ropeway project is proposed to be constructed, by raising of their hands denied issuing of NOC for the project at the meeting.
Before the meeting started, Sunder Singh Thakur, president of Palchan Panchayat told the media persons present, “I was informed that a public meeting is being organised and all of us were asked to be present. I along cannot take a decision on behalf of the entire village. We will put forth our point of view and let’s see what the villagers have to say.”
After the initial discussion when the issue was put to vote by asking those who were opposed to the project to raise their hands, all hands of the Palchan Panchayat members present went up.
NGT has been repeatedly directing the state government to complete all formalities to set up the ropeway but all necessary clearances for starting the project are still incomplete. Besides residents of Palchan, the villagers of Kothi, Solang, Ruar and others in the area have also been opposing the ropeway project. Some hotel owners and taxi operators are also opposing to the project.
The NGT had summoned the panchayat representatives to appear before it and had directed the state government to submit the status report about the ropeway project at the earliest.
Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice.
He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express.
With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology.
Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.