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Finally, snow sports activities to start at Rohtang Pass

Sanjeev Kumar/SNS | Shimla |

After a gap of four years, the Rohtang Pass and its surrounding areas would now again witness snow sports activities as skiing, snow scooter operations which had produced 20 International skiers including two Olympions.

The snow sports activities would begin at Rohtang Pass and it's surrounding areas as the Solang valley in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, around 240 km from here as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given its go ahead for starting these activities.

The NGT in its order passed on 19 June said the bench has examined the proposal of the Learned Local Commissioner in regard to the demarcation of the portion where the skiing area, snow scooters driven on petrol and para-gliding would be permitted.

This would be in addition to the open area where the public at large could enjoy the beauty of this scenic and pristine place.

The NGT has ordered to demarcate a section which would be provided as proposed for skiing area, scooters which are only petrol operated. However, no scooter with a diesel as a fuel would be permitted in that area and skiing, snow scooter and paragliding open area should be properly cleaned.

These areas need not be physically demarcated but would be identified for the purpose of proper implementation of the tourism activity. The government is at liberty to file any application for clarification or proper implementation of the directions, the NGT ruled.

Welcoming the decision of the NGT, Roshan Thakur, General Secretary, Winter Games Federation of India said the decision would not only help the locals in earning their livelihood but it would also promote snow sports among the youth.

“Apart from the commercial angle, the decision would promote snow sports activities in youth as they can only take the sport as a hobby only if they are earning by the profession,” he said.

Thakur said Manali has produced two Olympians Heera Lal and Himanshu Thakur who had represented India in snow sports. Even in Asian Games, nine out of the total 15 participants in skiing were from Himachal Pradesh, especially from Manali.

“Even four athletes from Manali had represented India in World Skiing Competition held in Switzerland in 2016,” he added. 

It is worthwhile to mention here that skiing activities were stopped at Rohtang, Marhi, Gulaba and Solang valley by the NGT owing to concerns over deteriorating environmental conditions in the area four years ago.