Vehicular congestion on route and around the ecologically fragile Rohtang Pass has come down massively and the reduction in the tourist footprint is showing a positive impact on the surroundings, said a report submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The Tribunal, through suo moto action, had issued a series of directions to regulate tourism at the popular mountain pass, located at a height of 13,050 ft in the eastern Pir Pinjal Range of Himalayas.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month, NGT had prohibited operation of snow scooters and paragliding and later appointed lawyer Ritwick Dutta to visit the site and tourist spots around it to give a status report on implementation of its orders. As per the Tribunal’s directions, Dutta visited Manali, Bahang, Gulaba, Marhi and Rohtang earlier this month. In his report he has submitted that the restriction on vehicular movement has cut down time taken to reach Rohtang.”I was informed that it required between 5-6 hours to reach by car from Manali to Rohtang prior to the orders of the Tribunal, today, the entire distance can be covered in one and a half hours.” The Tribunal has ordered that only 1200 vehicles – 800 petrol and 400 diesel – should be allowed to travel up to Rohtang. Last month, in Supreme Court, the Centre backed NGT’s move to cap vehicular movement in the high pass of Himalayas.The report also highlighted that forests are “slowly regenerating and given the significant number of sign boards displaying the orders of the Tribunal, it is clear that the Rule of Law is being given the required importance.”While observing that the local police was carrying out checks on vehicles, the volume of tourists was low and that could have been because the district authorities were aware of the Tribunal directed site visit. The report thus suggests that a “surprise check will reveal the real level of compliance.”Finally, the report has suggested that implementation of Tribunal’s orders to encourage sustainable tourism is necessary. “The ecological footprint of tourist needs to be reduced otherwise the very purpose for which people visit the scenic places will be defeated. It needs time to heal.

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Tourism regulation in Rohtang should continue, showing positive impact, says report to NGT