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Posted at: Sep 15, 2018, 1:14 AM; last updated: Sep 15, 2018, 1:14 AM (IST)

4k Manali families hit by NGT ban await rehabilitation

4k Manali families hit by NGT ban await rehabilitation

Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, September 14

Over 4,000 families affected by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on commercial activities in the Rohtang Pass are yet to be rehabilitated.

Since 2015, the residents of nine villages, including Shang, Burua, Palchan, Solang, Kothi, Goshal and Kulang, have been requesting the state government to rehabilitate them so that they are able to make a living.

The NGT had also directed the state government to develop eco-friendly markets in the area. Following which, the state government had indentified two places, one at Marhi and the other at Solang. At Marhi, the construction work is under way, while at Solang, the project is yet to take off.

To give relief to the affected people, especially those operating snow-scooters, ATVs, pony owners and skiers, the Kullu administration has identified a few sites at Marhi and Solang, where these activities can be carried out in a restricted manner.

In Rohtang, only photography and local attire are allowed in the name of tourism activity, while other commercial activities have been banned following the NGT order. Suresh Kumar, a resident of Burua, said after the NGT ban, his business had taken a hit. “Earlier, I used to earn well by plying snow-scooters in Rohtang, which is covered with snow till July.

“I have no idea how to make ends meet as in the lower areas, snow melts quickly and there is no use of snow-scooters there. There are several others who have been rendered jobless,” he added.

Devi Singh, a local, said the Rohtang Pass was the favourite tourist destination in Kullu district, where every year, a large number of foreign and domestic tourists thronged. After the NGT ban, the livelihood of 4,000 families had been snatched, he lamented. Anup Thakur, president, Hoteliers Association, Kullu-Manali, said: “We had submitted the rehabilitation plan for the affected people to the state government, but nothing has been done in this direction.

Kullu Deputy Commissioner Yunus Khan said an eco-friendly market was coming up at Marhi, while efforts were on to start the construction of another market at Solang. “To provide relief to the affected people, a few sites have been identified between Manali and Marhi to run tourism-related activities in a regulated manner,” Khan said.


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