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Rohtang Pass ropeway project gets thumbs down from Virbhadra

Statesman News Service | Shimla |

Amid locals protest and denial to No Objection Certificate by Palchan and other panchayats of Manali area of Kullu district, chief minister Virbhadra Singh declined the move to construct the ropeway to Rohtang Pass, putting to rest all speculations on the project.

Addressing a public gathering in Manali on Monday, Singh said the government would take up the issue with National Green Tribunal (NGT) on behalf of the people of the area.

“I am sure that it can be resolved. There is a solution to every problem,” he said, adding certainly a way out would be found.

He said  that the NGT order to reduce traffic congestion was against those who earn their livelihood from small kiosks and dhabas en-route Rohtang Pass.

Besides the taxi operators for whom their bread and butter, was the taxi business carrying tourists to the Rohtang pass. “The climate change is due to Global warming and not because of vehicular traffic, I think,” CM said.

He said that the government will help the local people in resolving the issue with NGT and will take up the matter with NGT on priority.

He accused the opposition party BJP for flaring up tensions and politicising the Rohtang ropeway issue and the party is forgetting that the life exists beyond Rohtang Pass also. “The BJP was spreading propaganda that the government is mulling to make a ropeway to Rohtang, as opposite to the fact, the leaders of BJP were secretly conniving with the corporate sector for the same, for the reason well known to them or may be to keep alive their political motives,” he said.

Singh said there are so much social and environmental related reasons and the leaders of BJP from the area were trying to politicise the issue for their benefit.

“I am personally with the villagers of Palchan and other panchayats who have refused to give No Objection Certificate to pave the way for construction of ropeway,” he remarked, adding that we will surely take up the issue with NGT.

It was due to global warming that the glaciers were melting and not because of vehicles. There has been vehicular movement since ages as the people stay on other side of Rohtang pass. The Rohtang pass is a gateway to Lahaul and Spiti and the road leads to Leh-Ladakh, he said.

He said that Kullu-Manali was known worldwide for its tourism potential and the government was committed to exploit the vast tourism potential.

“But I personally feel that not at the cost of those who were likely to suffer because of National Green Tribunal orders. I do agree that the traffic should be minimised but not stopped at all, he said, if environment is the issue, but I personally feel that this was not going to make much difference as the people residing on other side of the mighty 13,050 feet, pass also has the right to move,” he added.