Centre’s approval awaited, work on providing amenities at Atal Tunnel south portal on hold : The Tribune India

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Centre’s approval awaited, work on providing amenities at Atal Tunnel south portal on hold

Centre’s approval awaited, work on providing amenities at Atal Tunnel south portal on hold

Garbage littered outside the collection centre at Solang Nala near Manali in Kullu district.



Abhinav Vashisht

Kullu, March 21

The plan of the Tourism Department to develop facilities for tourists at the south portal of the Atal Tunnel at Dhundi village in Kullu district has not materialised for the past one year in the absence of approval from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).

Cafeteria, parking, pavilion proposed

  • The Tourism Department had planned to build a cafeteria, parking lot, pavilion, selfie point and other facilities at Dhundi at a cost of Rs 6 crore on about 4 bighas
  • It had uploaded the case for the clearance of land under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) for the above facilities in February last year but various objections were raised and hence the approval was not granted
  • Recently, pictures showing municipal waste dumped around a garbage collection centre at Solang Nala near Manali had gone viral on social media
  • Temporary eateries set up at Solang Nala by local residents seemed to have generated the littered garbage

The Tourism Department had planned to build a cafeteria, parking lot, pavilion, selfie point and other facilities at Dhundi at a cost of Rs 6 crore on about 4 bighas. It had uploaded the case for the clearance of land under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) for the above facilities in February last year but various objections were raised and hence the approval was not granted.

The HP High Court had expressed concern over littering near the Atal Tunnel after taking cognisance of a news item headlined “Littering near the Atal Tunnel threat to ecology” published in The Tribune on July 3, 2022, as public interest litigation (PIL). It had directed the state authorities to file affidavits mentioning therein about the action plan, including special drives to be conducted, along with dates for garbage lifting.

The court had also sought information regarding how many washrooms for men and women were available at the site and what measures were to be taken to monitor the area to keep it clean.

The High Court had on March 6 directed the Principal Secretary, Town and Country Planning, to ensure that a notification was issued for vending and non-vending zones in the Solang Special Area (Manali) well before the next date of hearing on the matter on May 22.

The Chairman of the Solang Special Area Development Authority (SADA) had on January 15 written a letter to the Principal Secretary, Town and Country Planning, requesting him to notify the vending and non-vending zones in the Solang Special Area following the recommendation of the Town Vending Committee formed by the Kullu administration.

Assistant Town Planner Pushpraj said that the proposal was sent after identifying vending zones at Solang Nala and Dhundi. Kullu District Tourism Development Officer Sunayna Sharma said that clarifications were given to objections to get the FCA clearance for the Dhundi site but the matter was pending with the Union Forest Ministry.

She said that the structures in the vending zones would be constructed as per the norms of the Town and Country Planning (TCP) Department by recognised architects and the executing agency would take various permissions required.

The area between Palchan and Dhundi is a non-vending zone. Now, an eco-friendly vending zone would be developed at Solang Nala.

#Atal Tunnel #Kullu


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