As reported by The Tribune, NGT (National Green Tribunal) has banned the movement of all Diesel operated tourist vehicles to Rohtang Pass. This ban will be in effect from May 1st 2015.
What this necessarily means is that only petrol driven vehicles will be allowed for commercial purposes on the Manali Rohtang route. Any diesel operated tourist and commercial vehicle would not be allowed beyond the Bhang border. However, Army vehicles, HRTC buses, private vehicles and vehicles of Lahaul residents had been exempted from the order.
How will it affect the tourists wanting to visit or cross Rohtang La? Honestly I do not see much of an impact of this ban on anyone except for the local taxi union and HPTDC. The taxi union and HPTDC will now have to trash the Diesel operated vehicles and start using petrol ones. Commercial vehicles registered outside Himachal Pradesh have been banned from visiting Rohtang (they are only allowed if they want to cross Rohtang to go either to Lahaul & Spiti or Ladakh) for last few years so the ban is only going to impact the local tourism community. Anyone travelling in a private vehicle to either Rohtang or beyond will not be impacted by the new rule.
If you are planning to travel to either Rohtang or beyond to Lahaul, Spiti or Ladakh, here are a few things to consider before planning your trip.
- You will need a permit to visit or cross Rohtang Pass if the vehicle has a registration number of outside Himachal Pradesh.
- Vehicles 10 years or older are not allowed to ply on the Manali Rohtang route anymore.
- There is a new pollution check center at Vashisth and you will have to get the pollution level of your vehicles checked. It is a mandate.
- And lastly, the ban we just discussed in the article above.
This ban has been brought into effect mostly considering the fact that more than 3000 vehicles ply daily on this route and due to carbon and soot emitted from these vehicles, the snow deposits in the upper valley turned have turned black. Another impact is a rise in the pollution levels and early melting of snow.