Now tourist vehicles entering Atal Tunnel at Rohtang Pass will have to pay green tax. The Himachal Pradesh government started collecting this tax on Friday (10 September).
While the vehicles entering Lahaul regularly will be exempt from paying the tax, tourist vehicles going to Kishtwar and Pangi too need to pay the tax.
The tax collected will be utilised for developing infrastructure for tourists along the national highway that connects Manali with Leh.
Littering and open defecation by tourists has emerged as a significant problem in this remote area due to the high influx of tourists since the inauguration of the Rohtang tunnel in October 2020.
“Littering is one of the major problems that emerged after the Rohtang tunnel was thrown open. We have lots of tourists coming to the valley. The garbage is lifted by the agencies outside the valley,” Lahaul and Spiti deputy commissioner Neeraj Kumar told Hindustan Times.
The 9.02 km-long Atal Tunnel at Rohtang is the longest highway tunnel globally and connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier, the valley was cut off for about six months each year owing to heavy snowfall.
The Tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas at an altitude of 3,000 m (10,000 feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
The Tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 Km between Manali and Leh and about 4 to 5 hours.