Only meagre sum of green tax spent on environment cause in Manali : The Tribune India

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Only meagre sum of green tax spent on environment cause in Manali

Vehicles from outside state levied fee on entering Manali town

Only meagre sum of green tax spent on environment cause in Manali

A green tax barrier near Manali. File Photo

Abhinav Vashisht

Kullu, April 7

The green tax barrier at Manali has earned over Rs 89.74 crore, including interest, since its inception in 2004, but only a small amount of it has been spent on the conservation of environment, the very purpose for which the fund was set up.

Most of the fund collected as green tax has been spent on building or developing infrastructure like roads, parking lots, footpaths etc.

Vehicles from out of Himachal Pradesh are levied a composite environmental fee while entering Manali.

Two-wheelers are charged Rs 100, LMVs Rs 200, medium vehicles Rs 300 and heavy vehicles Rs 500 at the Manali green tax barrier.

The funds collected as green tax are utilised by the Manali Tourism Development Council (TDC), headed by the Kullu DC.

According to the TDC data, of the Rs 89.74 crore collected as green tax so far, Rs 85.95 crore had been utililsed for different works. Of this, just Rs 13.23 crore had been spent on works related to the cause of environment, including Rs 7.53 crore for constructing an eco-friendly market at Marhi and Rs 1.63 crore on developing a Nature Park in Gulaba.

In its order on February 6, 2014, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had directed that the collected green tax shall be used exclusively for development of the area from Vashisht to Rohtang Pass and 5 km ahead of Rohtang Pass. The amount should also be used for prevention and control of pollution, development of eco-friendly market at Marhi, for restoring the vegetative cover and afforestation. The funds shall not be used for any other purpose whatsoever, the court had added.

Environmentalists opine that the amount collected at the Green Tax barrier should be utilised to conserve greenery and on measures to reduce carbon emissions. They said rather than spending the amount on construction and repair of civic infrastructure, this money should be used to make the area green and provide better facilities to tourists.

Every year lakhs of tourists from India and abroad visit Manali. The green tax amounting to Rs 80.01 crore had been collected from over 31.15 lakh vehicles during the last 20 years. An annual income of Rs 4 to 7 crore is generated from the green tax barrier. From April 2023 to March 2024, over Rs 6.91 crore was collected from more than 3.34 lakh vehicles that came to Manali.

The authorities maintained that the TDC was utilising funds for environmental protection and fortifying infrastructure for the tourists, be it the provision of toilets, parking, nature parks, beautification of campuses, afforestation, waste management or restoration of pedestrian paths. Infrastructure was also being developed near the Manali Volvo Bus Stand, they said, adding the green tax is also being utilised for the beautification of Manali and its surrounding areas.

Only Rs 13.23 crore spent on environment

  • Rs 89.74 cr collected as green tax at Manali barrier in 20 years
  • Rs 85.95 cr utilised by Tourism Development Council on different works
  • Rs 13.23 cr spent on works related to the cause of environment

#Environment #Kullu #Manali

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