Local community come to gather to operate environment friendly tourism in Kullu-Manali
Will submit alternate tourism plan to Govt. And NGT
Manali /Solang Nala: 19 July 2015.
Meeting of 9 villages of upper valley of Manali held at Solang Valley Hotel on dated 18th July 2015 on the issue of recent NGT order to ban all small allied tourism operations carried by local host community. Meeting was attended by more than two hundred local people, tourism small opreters. The gathering was addressed by Shri Maheshwar Singh (MLA Kullu), Shri Guman Singh Coordinator Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, Shir Harichand Sharma Chairman Zila Parishad Kullu, Shri Roop Chand Negi Chairman Municipal council Manali, Dharamvir Dhami Loacl Leader, Shri Bhubneshwar Gour Congress leader, Shri Devender Negi, Vidya Negi ex Panchayat Pradhan, Roshan lal, Ved Ram Pradhan GP Shanag, Pushpa Devi Pradhan GP Burua, Singhi Ram President GP Palchan, Sukhbir Mehta.
Guman Singh national coordinator of Himalaya Niti Abhiyan briefed the orders issued by NGT in recent past till 2008, when case was initiated by High court of its own. NGT has asked state government to frame rehabilitation plan for affected by its orders which restricted some operation of tourism. He said that NGT orders and direction mostly affected small tourism allied service providers and over all tourism industry in the state. More than 20,000 people lost jobs or self employment due to these imposed restrictions in this Manali valley. NGT also had issued orders to ban various small tourism operations on the plea of environmental degradation. He questioned these arguments based on some reports submitted to NGT which are contradictory and misleading. On the bases of these reports NGT issued orders to ban small tourism operation such putting ban on 10 year old vehicle and limited the number to be plied to Rohtang, demolished Dhawa, Khokha and shops running since many years on road side, banning snow and mountain vehicles, pony etc. These Reports highlighted the issue of the depletion of the Rohtang Glaciers but the fact is different as has claimed by Prof. Milap Chand Sharma Glaciologist of JNU, Delhi that the Rohtang glacier do not exist since last 15000 years. Even the GB Pant institute also pointed out the same. The second point he raised on increased of carbon level which as per him is 0.04 which is much less and hence can’t be treated as the threat. The data is also conflicting and doubtful in two deferent reports presented in NGT. So environmental plea is just a prelude but the reality is to defend corporate interest and debarring local host community to operate tourism on such ground, which is not fare and is undemocratic act. In response to the directions and orders of the NGT the local host communities and tourism operators shall come together to formulate the rehabilitation master plan for the tourism operation and development in the valley. Local administration shall support this initiative and shall submit the plan to the government for submitting to NGT. The plan must be based on scientific studies addressing issues such as environment safeguards, sustainability, and livelihood security of host community, considering the carrying capacity of the area too. Eco friendly Shopping, picnic spots, parking etc shall be raised at minimum 6 sites where local affected shall be given shop in priority. Taxi or vehicle powers who will convert their vehicles in CNG or battery shall be given grant for doing that and all displaced shall be given compensation of the loses, new avenues of work and soft loan be provided to them for restarting his new business.
Zila Parishad chairmen Mr. Hari chand Sharma said that we shall pass resolution in Gram Sabhas in favour to regulate tourism in sustainable manner which will provide jobs and environmental conservation, but shall oppose this blunt shut down by NGT. Bhubneshwar Gour local congress leader said that this decision is not due to government but is an order of NGT. We request you to all oppose it in one voice. Government tried in NGT to put argument in your favour, district administration will come to you on 20-21 July for consultation and we all shall provide them our input and proposals. Devender Negi- we couldn’t take up the issue since 2008 so now we shall not waste our time and find collective solution. No one shall ousted and debar local people from operating tourism those who had been working since 40 years in this industry. He suggest to form action committee to handle this case in future. We shall oppose Rope-way project completely.
Dharmbir Dhami local leader, raised the question that this problem is due to court order, but have we put our efforts in right direction and pleaded in NGT earlier. All unions were having their own stands but not in one direction. This is not issue of only of nine villages but is a a problem of Kullu as well as tourism industry in Himachal. He stressed on collative solution and efforts. Rup Chand Negi Chair man of Nagar Parishad Manli said that all association shall come to gather on this issue.
Maheshwar Singh of MLA Kullu constituency pretext that we the political leaders couldn’t understand the depth of the issue hence couldn’t intervene timely and also have the fear of misinformation. We are not opposing the NGT, but realizing the impact of the orders at ground which is directly affecting the livelihood of the local’s tourism operators. Thus we need to intervene for the rehabilitation of tourism operators. This also beyond understands that why only one Valley is targeted. He suggested that administration shall give some time to the locals to formulate ad develop the master plan before final considerations. He also advised the participants that all the operators should come together and sit for one day or two to develop the master plan on tourism activities. He also raised the question on the Tourism department for not initiated proper planning and regulation. He advised the department to revisit the report of excess vehicles in Rohtang and appropriate calculation must be done immediately. He suggested constituting action committee for the development of the tourism plan and for further possible actions.
Meeting resolved to bring all professional groups of small tourism operator of Kullu Manali Valley under common platform, realising the need in the interest of tourism industry in valley and Himachal Pradesh. Secondly it has been decided to conduct socio- economic study of the tourism activities and it operations. A comprehensive Master plan shall be prepared soon addressing these issues of sustainability, decentralised, environment friendly and responsible tourism operation handled by host community. The action committee will submit this master plan to the government of Himachal Pradesh for implementation and submitting the same in NGT. Resolutions shall be passed from gram sabhas of the region in favour of environment friendly and decentralised tourism operation which will ensure jobs and livelihoods to local host community. A draft resolution was circulated in the meeting. Copy attached.