Amid concern over environment degradation in the Rohtang Pass area due to plying of diesel taxis, the Himachal Pradesh government on Thursday started first of its kind electric bus service for the tourist spot.
The bus service was flagged by State Transport Minister GS Bali along with Kullu Deputy Commissioner Yunus. The bus service would ply between Manali and Rohtang and there would be 10 buses in the fleet.
Himachal Pradesh became the first state in the country to start this initiative and also become the first one in the world to ply them at an altitude of 13,000 feet.
The initiative is a welcome step to curb carbon emission which is resulting in melting of glaciers in the Himalayas.
The state government was forced to introduce zero-emission transportation facility in fragile areas after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) took stringent step of imposing restriction on entry of vehicles to Rohtang Pass.
The NGT had shown concern over the melting of glaciers in the Rohtang Pass area as they were receding at an alarming rate of 19-20 meters per year.
The entry of vehicles was restricted to 1,000 vehicles per day, including both diesel and petrol vehicles, however, electric and CNG vehicles are exempted.
The state had faced embarrassment for its carelessness and lack of small arrangements like dustbins for waste collection.
Earlier, the government was planning to start CNG buses, but the plan was shelved as it wasn’t viable and the alternate was proving costly.