In a big relief to roadies and tourists who wants to enjoy scenic beauty of the mighty Himalayas on Manali-Leh route, the ongoing tussle between the between Manali and Leh-Ladakh Bikers Association has ended, leading to free movement of bikers and tourists.
Earlier on 9 June, the Ladakh Bikers Co-Operative Ltd (LBCL) had issued a circular stating that they won’t allow any bike enter Ladakh beyond Sarchu, the border of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.
The tussle between biker associations of Leh-Ladakh and Manali was taking a toll on tourism activities on one of the world’s top three adventure tourism routes.
“The issue has been resolved amicably last evening and an agreement in this regard has been signed in the presence of Chief Executive Officer, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council,” Keshav Thakur, Manali Bikers Association president told The Statesman.
However, the agreement has been signed for allowing bikers till September 2017 for tourist season only, he said.
As per the new arrangement, the Ladakh Bikers Association would not pick tourists from Manali and their pickup station would be Keylong in Lahaul Spiti district of HP.
While the Manali bikers would not be allowed to visit Penguong, Nubra, Dungla and other interior areas of Ladakh.
“An agreement has been made with Manali bikers for this tourist season only and it will be reviewed in September,” Tashi Chotak, president of LBCL told The Statesman.
The agreement would be renewed only if there is no untoward incident during the period. “Now, the vehicles or bikes coming from Himachal or outside would have to hire vehicles from locals to visit interior areas of Ladakh,” Tashi added.
The tussle between the two associations started on 3 June when a group of bikers from Manali were stopped in Ladakh, allegedly by locals.
The bike keys of the tourists were allegedly snatched from them and were allegedly held hostage for few days before they told to return by other means of transportation. Some of the tourists at Leh-Ladakh even complained of misbehaviour by the locals.
However, the situation further escalated on 5 June when 85 more bikers were stopped in Leh and in retaliation, the Manali Bikers Association stopped the Leh-Ladakh Bikers Association’s cavalcade in Manali. This led to further escalation of tension between the two as both of them accused each other of damaging bikes and misbehaving with tourists.
It is worthwhile to mention here that the tussle between Leh-Ladakh and Manali bikers started in 2013 when they were stopped from visiting Penguong, Nubra, Dungla and other interior areas of Ladakh. The issue, however, was resolved as the Manali bikers agreed to not to visit these areas.