HC orders illegal dhabas in Rohtang to shut shop, save pass from pollution

HC orders illegal dhabas in Rohtang to shut shop, save pass from pollution

Himachal told to spread awareness among tourists

Asking the state government to observe “zero tolerance” towards pollution in the vicinity of Rohtang Pass beyond Mardhi, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday directed a slew of measures, including removal of unauthorised food stalls.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice R B Misra also directed the state authorities to ensure that all the unauthorised food stalls/dhabas in that area are removed in a time bound period.

Impact on glaciers

The High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the harm being caused to Rohtang glaciers due to pollution.

The court also said that Himachal Pradesh authorities must provide substitute mobile vans to supply food and drinking items to the tourists visting Rohtang Pass, whose responsibility should be taken by the Himachal Pradesh tourism department.

In addition, the Himachal Pradesh tourism department, in association with the State Pollution Control Board, should also arrange for day-to-day awareness camps at appropriate locations to spread awareness among the tourists about the norms and do’s and don’ts to be observed strictly during their stay or visit to tourist locations in forest area, the court said.

The court granted time to the advocate general to interact with the principal secretary (tourism) and MD, HP Tourism Corporation to evolve a comprehensive scheme to ensure that littering taking place in forest area, essentially due to the presence of unauthorised food stalls/dhabas, was stopped at the earliest.

However, the court clarified that pendency of the petition or preparation of comprehensive scheme will not be an impediment for the state authorities to immediately precede against the unauthorised food stalls/dhabas in restricted/forest area in accordance with law and posted that matter for May 2, 2013.

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