Free Press Journal

Nothing wrong in NGT restrictions on vehicles on Rohtang: SC


New Delhi: Supreme Court today said there was nothing wrong with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directive to restrict the entry of petrol-run vehicles in the eco-sensitive Rohtang Pass area and the order was in the interest of ecology and environment.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur refused to grant any immediate relief to the taxi operators union which has challenged the NGT order restricting entry to 500 petrol vehicles only on the 13,050 feet pass.

The apex court, however, sought the assistance of Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar in assessing various orders of the NGT as the counsel for the taxi operators union alleged that some orders are not in sync with the previous ones.

The counsel, Vibha Dutt Makhija, further said the subsequent orders are being made without clarifying the status of earlier orders which are a bit conflicting. At the outset of the brief hearing, the bench said, “You can’t deny the fact there is vehicular pollution is affecting the environment in Rohtang. Roads are narrow and (higher) traffic will cause further complications. People can’t go there to see black snow. What is wrong with the NGT order? It is in the interest of ecology and environment. You go to a place for enjoying the beauty of the place.

“You (Solicitor General) look into all the orders passed by NGT. Every third day NGT is passing orders. We want to know what do they have in mind. These orders may be well-meaning and righteous orders. You look into them and give us an idea about it,” a bench also comprising Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit said.

The matter is now listed for hearing on April 25. The observations came during the hearing of a plea by Him-Aanchal Taxi Operators Union challenging NGT’s December 11, 2015 order which allows a total of only 500 petrol vehicles to go up to Rohtang every day.

At the outset, Makhija sought relaxation of restrictions on vehicles to allow more taxis to go up to the high altitude mountain pass.