Cannot increase number of vehicles at Rohtang Pass, says Supreme Court

New Delhi: Vehicular exhausts have "adverse impacts" on glaciers, the Supreme Court on  said and made clear it cannot enhance the number of petrol and diesel-run vehicles in the eco-sensitive Rohtang Pass area without any data.

"Let us have the data. They are saying that 1200 vehicles can be allowed. If you say that make it 2000 then there has to be some data. You have to draw the line somewhere," a vacation bench of Justices P C Pant and D Y Chandrachud said.

"Vehicular exhausts have adverse impacts on glaciers and in a way, your livelihood is also dependent on glaciers," it said and asked the parties, including Himachal Pradesh to respond to the affidavit filed by Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in the case.

The bench, for the time being, declined to grant any interim relief to the Him-Aanchal Taxi Operators Union which has sought increase in numbers of vehicles to be allowed to ply on Manali-Rohtang Pass rout.

Supreme Court. Reuters

Supreme Court. Reuters

The National Green Tribunal has recently said that 800 petrol vehicles per day would be allowed to go to Rohtang instead of the 600 as permitted in its earlier order.

It had also allowed 400 diesel vehicles to pass through the 13,050 feet Pass. The order is being assailed by the taxi operators association on grounds including that it impacts the right to earn livelihood.

The bench, which has now fixed the matter after two weeks, has asked parties to file responses to the affidavit of the ministry.

The ministry has said that it has "no such scheme for development of CNG stations in the country and also there is no budgetary provisions for such expenditure."

"...Therefore, it was felt that re-working of the business model for providing the CNG facility at Manali-Rohtang Pass, is required to find a solution to the capital expenditure problem and to address the much wider issue of viability of CNG operation.

"In view of the above, it was decided that GAIL/GAIL Gas and representative of Government of Himachal Pradesh will work out a sustainable business model for providing the CNG facility at Manali-Rohtang Pass within a period of 4 weeks...," the Centre said, adding it was "committed to provide support for successful implementation" of CNG projects on Manali-Rohtang road.

Updated Date: May 23, 2016 18:26 PM

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