KULLU, MAY 9
The HRTC has resumed electric bus service for tourists for the world famous 13,058 feet high Rohtang Pass from Manali. Tourists can make the booking at the HRTC counter at Manali for Rs 600 per seat.
Although the HRTC has started the service with only three buses for Rohtang, the number can be increased on demand. The Kullu depot of the HRTC has been provided a fleet of 25 electric buses.
Buses having seating capacity of 25 passengers each will leave from Manali bus stand at 8 am, 8.30 am and 9 am.
The pass was thrown open for tourists on May 5. Only 1,200 vehicles per day, 800 petrol and 400 diesel, having online permits are allowed to cross the Gulaba barrier to go to Rohtang Pass as per the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). Due to non-availability of permits, many tourists visiting Manali are deprived of the chance to visit Rohtang.
Many have to bear the hefty fare of taxis and sometimes have to wait for a couple of days to visit the mighty Rohtang Pass. Tourists have to struggle hard for online permits as the permits are sold out within minutes of their being released online during peak season.
Electric buses for Rohtang have been introduced to protect the ecology of the area by minimizing pollution. These electric buses will not require permit for going to Rohtang. The tourists would stand to benefit as they would not have to face the hassle of seeking online permits for their vehicles.
Kullu HRTC Regional Manager DK Narang said that the road condition is not good on the other side of Rohtang towards Koksar, due to which the buses are returning to Manali after halting at the Rohtang Pass for two hours. He said after the road condition to Koksar improves, buses will return to Manali via Koksar and Atal Tunnel and have a small stopover in Solang Nullah as well.
Kullu-Manali Paryatan Vikas Mandal president Anup Ram Thakur said that now entire traffic towards Lahaul was crossing through Atal tunnel and only tourist vehicles were visiting the Rohtang Pass. He said the government should approach the NGT again to review its decision of capping the number of vehicles and charging Rs 500 per vehicle.
He said the visitors can cross the tunnel and approach the Rohtang Pass from Lahaul side without any permit or paying environment cess. He appealed that the Gulaba barrier should be removed as it was not required anymore.
Booking at HRTC Manali counter
- Tourists can book tickets at the HRTC counter in Manali for Rs 600 per seat
- Although the HRTC has started the service with only three buses, the number can be increased on demand
- Buses having seating capacity of 25 passengers each will leave from Manali bus stand at 8 am, 8.30 am and 9 am.
- Only 1,200 vehicles per day having online permits are allowed to cross the Gulaba barrier to go to Rohtang Pass.