Monday, October 14, 2019

Posted at: Jun 14, 2019, 7:10 AM; last updated: Jun 14, 2019, 9:15 AM (IST)

It’s only chaos, no respite in hills

Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, June 13

The summer is in its throes and those living in plains are making a beeline for hill stations. Be it Rohtang or Shimla, every place is chock-a-block. Tourists visiting Rohtang were shocked at the sight of black snow. Snow is supposed to be white. But the heavy influx of vehicles has polluted the fragile place. The air quality has worsened. Even worse, a large number of tourists are spending nights on roads due to long traffic jams. The pass was opened on June 1.

The opening of the Manali-Leh road only aggravated the situation.

One can see vehicles stranded from Manali up to Rohtang. Harmful gases emitting from these vehicles has only raised the pollution levels. The National Green Tribunal had put a cap on vehicles going towards the pass.

Worst trip of my life, says Delhi tourist

Anil Gupta, a tourist from Delhi, said due to a long traffic jam between Manali and Rohtang, it took him eight hours to reach the pass. “It becomes difficult with family. I would term it the worst trip of my life,” he said.

Then there were a few who after reaching the pass did not get space to park their vehicle.

Rajveer Singh from Punjab said he started at 4 am and reached the pass around at 10 am. “On reaching Rohtang, I had to jostle for parking space. The administration should do something about the parking facility,” he added.

As per information, over 10,000 vehicles enter Kullu district daily. Most of them move towards the Rohtang Pass or Leh and Ladakh. Th list of woes do not end here. The lone public toilet at Koksar on the Manali-Leh highway, which is locked, is putting those stranded in traffic jams for hours to inconvenience. In the absence of the facility, tourists defecate in the open.

“As the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department did not provide water connection, the toilet had to be closed,” locals said.

The Manali-Leh highway was opened a few days ago. After crossing the Rohtang Pass, the gateway to Lahaul, buses as well as tourist vehicles stop at Koksar. On finding the toilet locked, passengers answer the nature’s call in the open.

Tourists said the facility was there, but the authorities’ slack approach was making them suffer.

Shopkeepers said the IPH Department was not concerned about the convenience of travellers.

“We urge the local administration to look into the matter and ask officials to provide the water connection so that it can be made functional for the convenience of visitors,” they said.

SDM, Keylong, Amar Negi said he would direct the IPH Department to take necessary steps and get the toilet functional at the earliest.


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