Tribune News Service
Manali, May 28
Since the Rohtang Pass was opened for tourists on May 23, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate office, Manali, is flooded with complaints that taxi operators and owners of private vehicles are misusing permits.
The district administration is providing online permits to visit Rohtang or Lahaul-Spiti.There are complaints that taxi operators as well as owners of private vehicles are procuring permits to visit Lahaul-Spiti but using it to take tourists till Rohtang.
According to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directions, only 1,200 vehicles (800 petrol, 400 diesels) are allowed to visit Rohtang daily. However, the number of vehicles to visit Rohtang is much higher than the permits issued. The authorities are providing two types of permits, one only for visit to Rohtang at Rs 550, and other for going ahead to Lahaul-Spiti by paying congestion charges of Rs 50.
While for Lahaul-Spiti and Leh-Ladakh, there is no cap on permits and people can take it easily. Taxi operators as well as tourists are taking permits for Lahaul-Spiti, but returning from Rohtang, violating the guidelines of the NGT and causing financial loss to the state.
To curb the menace, the district administration has taken tough steps and blacklisted 70 vehicles on the route for 15 days. If the offence will be repeated, the vehicle will be blacklisted permanently.
Due to cap on vehicles, there is a huge rush in the region to take permits for Rohtang and there are reports that taxi operators are taking permits by paying Rs 1,500 to 2,000 extra to middlemen. Due to that, fleecing of tourists has multiplied in the region.
SDM, Manali, HR Bhairwa said the authorities were monitoring the situation closely and offenders try to deceive the authority would be penalised.
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