Kullu, May 26
The ongoing dispute between Himachal and Leh regarding the movement of rental motorcycles has now taken a new turn. The office-bearers of various vehicle operator unions of Manali like Him Aanchal Taxi Union, Jeep Union, Luxury Tempo Union and Bikers Association held a meeting yesterday and unanimously decided that if no solution was found within four days, taxi services to Leh would be stopped.
On May 21, the members of Ladakh Bike Rental Cooperative Limited and people of Leh had vandalised 15 bikes and a Bolero camper of Bikers Association of Manali.
Him Aanchal Taxi Union president Puran Chand Pohlu, Luxury Tempo Union president Dharam Chand, Jeep Union president Suresh Thakur and Bikers Association president Rajesh condemned the vandalism of vehicles and said that if a permanent solution to this problem was not found within four days, then taxi service to Leh would be stopped.
They said that while tourist vehicles coming from Leh were being welcomed in Manali the tourist vehicles going to Leh were being vandalised. They added that they had imposed no restriction on the vehicles of Leh entering Manali but the Leh people are promoting regionalism by damaging vehicles from Manali. They urged the state government to solve the problems soon so that everyone can earn livelihood in the summer season and tourists can enjoy roaming without any hindrance.
The row erupted in 2018 after bike rental unions of Manali and Ladakh barred the entry of bikers in each other’s territory. In 2022, the dispute was mutually settled by the two unions by signing an agreement, allowing entry to bikers in each other’s territory. As per the pact, Manali bikes were allowed till Leh only and not to tourist places there. Leh people weren’t able to rent bikes in Manali. On July 9, 2022, Leh people alleged violation of the agreement by the bikers of Manali, who refuted the allegations.
The Bikers Association of Manali had also urged Union minister Anurag Thakur to intervene and resolve this dispute during his recent visit to Manali on May 13. However, the controversy has now flared up further.
The residents apprehend that if the matter is allowed to linger, it could trigger scuffles between the residents of the two regions.
A resident said that a delegation of the Himachal government should go to Leh and find a solution. He said that the matter should be resolved amicably. A senior citizen Hemraj said that Leh and Manali were directly or indirectly linked together from the tourism point of view. Hence, the dispute must be sorted out amicably.
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