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Old 9th July 2015, 17:20   #16
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Default Re: NGT bans two wheelers from going to Rohtang Pass: EDIT Those going onward can take permit from S

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Originally Posted by //M View Post
What about the two-wheelers coming from Keylong/Kaza side towards Manali?

Are these two wheelers required to get any permit?
I have the same question, what about two wheelers coming from the other side ?
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Old 9th July 2015, 17:38   #17
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

Gramphoo may be the control point from that side.
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Old 9th July 2015, 20:41   #18
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Default Re: NGT bans two wheelers from going to Rohtang Pass: EDIT Those going onward can take permit from S

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Originally Posted by //M View Post
What about the two-wheelers coming from Keylong/Kaza side towards Manali?

Are these two wheelers required to get any permit?
Two wheelers and four wheelers are allowed to come from the other side. My friends just completed a Solan-Shimla-Kinnaur-Tabo-Spiti-Rohtang-Manali-Mandi-Solan trip yesterday and no one bothered them.
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Old 9th July 2015, 22:17   #19
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

This is the initial scenario, if you see practically many business runs on rented motorcycle in Manali. Dont forget the foreign tourist who come to Manali just to ride ahead on a motorcycle.
What can be possibility that a permit would be required to cross Rohtang from Manali side and Rohtang would be completely cleaned up. Well its about time for the government to act. I am sure they will find a way for motorcyclist as that is one of the main tourist attraction deal for many.
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Old 13th July 2015, 11:52   #20
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

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Originally Posted by 0xTKB View Post
Two wheelers and four wheelers are allowed to come from the other side. My friends just completed a Solan-Shimla-Kinnaur-Tabo-Spiti-Rohtang-Manali-Mandi-Solan trip yesterday and no one bothered them.
Sensible as it's the day-tourists from Manali who are creating the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0xTKB View Post
As a resident of Himachal (Mandi), I fully support this decision. Here are the reasons :-

Moreover, Beas river has its source at Rohtang Pass (Vyas Kund). Just imagine, if, due to the huge level of vehicular pollution up there, the source gets dried. Then, it would've been a huge ecological disaster. There are some tributaries such as Parvati river which adds water to the river at Bhuntar, but still, it would've been a huge disaster.

Also, people do NOT follow the rules. So they had to enforce the ban. For example, plastic bags are banned in Himachal. But you can see them everywhere in Rohtang Pass, Solang Nala and Marhi. Tourists drive like morons here and they overtake on curves (even blind curves) which is very, very dangerous.

As of today's newspaper (Amar Ujala), they're removed the shops, dhabas etc from Rohtang Pass and alongside the road as they also contributed to corruption and pollution.

Please try to understand this decision. I know it is very harsh and tough, but they had to do it and they will take more tough measures to stop the destruction of environment.
As a resident of Manali (a little closer yet to the effected areas) have to disagree here on a couple points: First BeasKund is in no way the only source of water for the Beas River, so the catastrophe here is being seriously overstated, and secondly please explain the specific functions by which having many vehicles up there would make it "dry up" at all. Next, it would require far less manpower and organization to simply provide trash collection for the dhabas at Marhi/Rohtang than to remove them all and enforce a ban. Lastly, while true that tourists frequently misbehave in various ways, the NGT's job is to take measures to protect the environment, not to improve driving practices, improve safety at river points, etc. These need not be mentioned in this context really.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
When you try to control symptoms and not the disease, this is what you get. The full NGT order has an observation that permits were being sold at "black" rates. with 20,000 for a taxi full of tourists.
So pollution is same, black ice is same, trash is same, just the government is richer.
Despite living amongst taxi operators and hearing quite a lot at the ground level, was not aware of this, and doubt whether it was widespread - though the typical propensity to fiddle with / subvert the system indeed makes it hard for many laws to have any positive effect (PUC centers who simply print certificates being an eminent example).

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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
Reports coming in suggest that you have to take permit from SDM now to go onward from Rohtang Pass
Actually in effect since early last year; slight added hassle in terms of procuring the permit, but otherwise no issues, and not included in the 1000-vehicle cap AFAIK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PGNarain View Post
Does this mean that one cannot ride to Leh anymore? Or does it only apply to Two-Wheelers going only till Rohtang?

Also, I see that Dhabas and Eateries are going to be removed at Rohtang. Though this maybe a good move - in terms of ensuring hygiene and reducing waste
AFAIK can ride to Leh with a "beyond Rohtang" permit. Rohtang day trips are the problem that's being primarily (and rightly) targeted.

************
The fuller picture for anyone interested:

Nobody who's been up to Solang/Rohtang in recent years should be denying that "something" needs to be done.

But in other lands where environmental degradation was a concern, we have witnessed foresight and corresponding long-term planning, which seems clearly lacking here in the NGT, if their actions this year are any indication.
The government is charged with the often thankless job of protecting shortsighted people from themselves; clearly local activities operators have been effectively slowly killing themselves, if the long-term is in view. Thing is that government (considering that those in power are supposed to be educated, capable people) is supposed to be doing it in a way that is also considerate towards the population and which has a long-term, "big picture" view of things. If not, then as a poster commented above, they are practically not much above the level of goondas (who do what they want, when they want, with little regard for anything but their own micro-agenda).

A very realistic scenario here:

A hardworking local man with a nine-year-old diesel taxi saves up some money and contemplates taking a several-lakhs loan for a new Tata Sumo cab to replace it. Early this year, the NGT tells everyone that over-ten-year-old diesels will be banned, so the time seems right to take the plunge. He takes the loan, buys the car, and is shortly thereafter told by the NGT that all diesel vehicles will be banned completely. He holds out hope that something will happen, that the local gov't will help him. Well, the NGT changes their mind and tells him that if he upgrades to a BS-IV vehicle, he'll have no problem operating. He trades in the Sumo at a big loss and takes an additional loan to buy a Innova. He's in a bit over his head, but he's uneducated and doesn't really know better. He starts working again, only to have the NGT hand down their latest and greatest, a 1000-vehicle cap. Now he's competing with a few thousand other operators, and only gets to drive every fourth day or so - he's not making nearly enough to cover loan payments, so sell this car too, at a huge loss due to the glut in the market, and still has a large loan to pay off. His options for earning money legally have been substantially reduced, and his trust in / respect for the government at any level has been utterly destroyed, so he contemplates any number of easy ways to earn in the local context illegally:

1. Plant some more charas up on the mountain and step up smuggling operations (increased criminalization of the local environment).
2. Pay off a forest guard (a few thousand rupees will suffice) and cut down a dozen grand old deodar trees in the forest, selling the wood for a few lakhs, about what he lost in taxi revenue that year (oxygen depletion/reduced atmospheric cleansing).
3. Quietly restart the banned harvesting of Rs2000/kg jheri, the medicinal root internationally sought after (soil erosion)
4. Start a lifestyle of theft, whether from government, local businesses, or private individuals (instability, fear, loss, lack of investment in the local economy).
5. Open a little shop offering smuggled Chinese wares (economic / political effects???).
6. Etc, etc [developing criminal minds fill in the blanks].

What the NGT fails to recognize is that if they're not undertaking their undeniably important and noble cause in a co-operative, transparent, carefully planned and executed way, they're ultimately going to do more harm than good, both for the environment, for the state, the people, and the union as a whole.

So we applaud the NGT for cleaning up Solang/Rohtang, and they come up and take pictures in three years and pat themselves on the back over its recovery. But they won't trek into the forests to see hundreds of cut trees, increasing soil erosion, the armed guards protecting ever-larger dope plantations; they are not going to see the effects of a declining local economy, which always has far-reaching environmental effects: shortcuts everywhere, incl: on septic tank design/construction, lack of maintenance of hotel wastewater treatment plants, generators, vehicles, etc, etc, etc, as just a few examples among many.

And people here, even if not highly educated, are not stupid. They are asking: If the claimed impetus for closing the dhabas at Rohtang last year was due to all the cheating (ex: Rs40 for a cup of chai) going on, then how is it that the government tea stall that replaced them was charging the exact same exorbitant rates? Or, "how can the gov't / NGT be objective when it has ties to big-business operators who have an interest in and some existing investments in those sensitive areas?" or "Why are activities like skiing and photography, which have no negative environmental effect, being banned alongside clearly destructive activities like the grass/soil-destroying plying of ATV's?" and "Why are they shutting all of us down, when the government itself is responsible for so much pollution, like the burning tar-drums emitting hundreds of vehicles worth of smoke, in old-school local paving projects..." Etc.

I cannot sympathize with locals in some cases, because of the carelessness and greed with which so much was going on here... but I do know some honest, very hard-working people who I think have valid concerns, and who deserve to have government bodies answering these, and doing the best for all involved in a longer-term, bigger-picture way.

Personally, I've been working on an improved wood-stove ("tandoor") design that burns extremely efficiently and cleanly. No smoke, and very little wood consumption to heat even large rooms. But I'm afraid to make the investment now to make it production-worthy, because I see the government has abruptly banned all wood-burning in Shimla (regardless of stove specification, etc). They could do it H.P.-wide, too, and then where would I be? If I'd known five years ago that as of 2016 they'd be banned, then I could've worked on developing something else. Everything going on currently reeks of misinformation, lack of foresight, carelessness, and power-mongering.

Is the environment ultimately helped when staged progress, beneficial innovations, careful planning and common-sense, low-cost/high-impact regulation, etc, are discouraged, and where attempting to continually adapt to the latest whims of powerful people proves painfully expensive for the average individual?

Probably not.

I have a number of friends up here personally affected even by simply the lack of info / mis-info that creates so much uncertainty that tourists cancel holidays, etc.

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 13th July 2015 at 11:57.
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Old 13th July 2015, 12:36   #21
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Sensible as it's the day-tourists from Manali who are creating the problem. .
.
.
.
.
I have a number of friends up here personally affected even by simply the lack of info / mis-info that creates so much uncertainty that tourists cancel holidays, etc.

-Eric
Spot on.
Instead of these silly measures, the NGT could have directed the government to come up with a simple 5 year plan. Eg ropeway to Rohtang.
Sure, saving Rohtang would have had to wait for 5 years, but in those five years a ropeway would have been constructed, and number of vehicles reduced.

Now the mess is the same, there are traffic jams, and lot of people are being forced out of their livelihood.

This is the crux of the problem here. Every decision is short sighted, and changes every 3 months.

That said, with the tunnel in place (hopefully by 2017), BRO can stop clearing Rohtang, That would mean no access till July anyways, and in August due to rains tourists anyways dwindle. Of course, Keylong etc., should prepare for a super tourist rush
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Old 13th July 2015, 22:11   #22
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
As a resident of Manali (a little closer yet to the effected areas) have to disagree here on a couple points: First BeasKund is in no way the only source of water for the Beas River, so the catastrophe here is being seriously overstated, and secondly please explain the specific functions by which having many vehicles up there would make it "dry up" at all. Next, it would require far less manpower and organization to simply provide trash collection for the dhabas at Marhi/Rohtang than to remove them all and enforce a ban. Lastly, while true that tourists frequently misbehave in various ways, the NGT's job is to take measures to protect the environment, not to improve driving practices, improve safety at river points, etc. These need not be mentioned in this context really.


-Eric
As you are a resident of Manali, you will have a clearer picture of whats going on over there. And I agree that trash collection formula would make sense. But this IS the real problem. People (locals and tourists alike) don't follow the rules. I don't know what was the real reason behind the removal of Dhabas etc but I think that it has to do something with them overcharging a lot from the people who were eating there.

Regarding the Vyas Kund scenario, I'm in no ways an environment expert but, more vehicles = more pollution = glaciers receding = less water in Vyas Kund (correct me if I'm wrong). And NGT IS taking measures to protect the environment by reducing number of vehicles at Rohtang and its surroundings but the corrupt administration didn't implemented it fully and allowed twice the number of vehicles to visit Rohtang. The 16th July's decision will clear up more regarding this whole scenario.

EDIT: A lot of issues will be solved once the tunnel becomes operational sometime after 2017. The people visiting Leh etc can simply skip Rohtang Pass. This will improve the traffic situation, the pollution situation and will probably give employment to a lot of taxi operators. Until then, we sadly have to follow this decision.

Last edited by 0xTKB : 13th July 2015 at 22:18. Reason: Added some info regarding the tunnel.
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Old 15th July 2015, 23:59   #23
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0xTKB View Post
People (locals and tourists alike) don't follow the rules. I don't know what was the real reason behind the removal of Dhabas etc but I think that it has to do something with them overcharging a lot from the people who were eating there.

Regarding the Vyas Kund scenario, I'm in no ways an environment expert but, more vehicles = more pollution = glaciers receding = less water in Vyas Kund (correct me if I'm wrong).

The 16th July's decision will clear up more regarding this whole scenario.

EDIT: A lot of issues will be solved once the tunnel becomes operational sometime after 2017.
Thanks for your thoughts. Agree that something has to be done. Only objecting to HOW it's being done thus far. Briefly as I can:

1. Perceived-as-too-expensive food is hardly the NGT's job to deal with. Their job is the physical environment. Even if they argued (never actually heard this line) that more people are bringing environmentally-unfriendly bag-lunches to the Pass since food's costly up there, then the best thing to do would be to simply call for standardization of the dhaba rates on that basis. Obviously a total ban of dhabas forces EVERYONE to try and bring in their lunches / snacks / drinks (we are talking about families here, and an all-day outing).

2. Glaciers are receding worldwide, even in areas hundreds of km's from any human habitation. It's called "Global Warming"...Because it's, eh... GLOBAL. Wind patterns near Beas Kund glaciers can move the weather dozens of km's per hour in any given direction. Has anyone actually recorded air temps or measured water-flow in glacial streams around Beas Kund on off-days (Tuesdays) vs. the rest of the week, to determine whether local temps near glaciers are actually higher when all those vehicles are present? Has anyone compared the rates of recession of glaciers around Beas Kund to those in the more remote places, and found them different? Is there any real science going on here? I'm doubting it (if the NGT actually had such data, then they ought to be a little more transparent re: sharing it). The macro-ecological effects of the Indian plains (Delhi alone = how many lakhs new vehicle registrations per year?) are almost certainly having a lot more to do with melting glaciers in the vicinity of Beas Kund (and everywhere else in the Western Himalayas) than even a few thousand vehicles at this little pinpoint in an absolutely vast region could. So you've seen dirty snow up there, you say? I'll share a little secret with you here: We get literally muddy, dirty rain every year, originating as dust storms from Rajasthan. Been that way since long before anyone had cars.

3. Having said that, there is WAY too much traffic: Too much to allow emergency vehicles to pass through; Too much to allow local traffic between Kullu&Lahual valleys through; Too much to allow maintenance of the road; Too much to control traffic movement, police and enforce traffic rules; Too much carrying too many thousands to trample the delicate, barely vegetated ground up there. I'm not against restricting things. Probably someone pre-NGT should've come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with all this.

4. Anticipation of the tunnel is a major consideration: If Rohtang is going to be either closed or largely bypassed in the future anyway, then why take any dramatic / draconian measures now? Put some reasonable guidelines / limits in place and let the place die its own natural death. And spend your time/effort looking five years ahead to that new scenario and anticipating what will need doing THEN! (If someone had done that earlier, we'd not be in this mess now).

5. Not quite fair that private/tourist vehicles are being targeted when the gov't itself is responsible for this kind of thing:

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(smoke here is NOT from a traffic jam, but from old-school, tar-burning road paving of our link road!)

6. Zero communication / transparency. No local I've spoken with, even those politically connected, has had any idea what the NGT was planning to use the collected funds for. Logical and not unreasonable assumption of every such non-informed person will be that it's going to be, eh, "eaten" by bigger, more powerful people than they. Breeds mistrust / animosity / subversive attitudes, which will always prove counterproductive.


What I've been objecting to is the apparent lack of foresight/planning/long-term goal-making/strategizing/staged implementation/general spirit of cooperation/ sense of transparency, and the seemingly arbitrary changing of rules/restrictions every month or two so far this year.

And I'm saying that without all the above in place, Rohtang and Solang may indeed be quickly cleaned up by the NGT, but at the expense of the longer-term degradation of a lot of other unseen and probably more crucial areas surrounding Kullu Valley, due to examples given in my previous post and many others I could mention. Just sayin'... they need to be studying the ramifications of various options and thinking of ALL these things and how to improve the "big picture", not just seeing the atrocious conditions at Rohtang and coming up with what seem knee-jerk reactions towards "fixing" it.

Indeed should be VERY interesting to see what July 16th (tomorrow) brings.

Thanks Again (know I've been ranting a bit here),

Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 16th July 2015 at 00:06.
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Old 16th July 2015, 09:03   #24
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

Why ban vehicles driving up Rothang pass alone? Ideally if one wants to reduce the number of morons driving up from the plains, increase the Himachal entry tax exponentially. Make it super expensive to drive up and reduce the number of casual day trippers with the plastic chip packs and beer bottles. At the same time mandate the usage of cleaner fuels on local vehicles, either cng or clean burning new cars, ban local diesel transport.
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Old 16th July 2015, 11:42   #25
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

Just read this on the HVK FB page.

Quote:
The official report of National Green Tribunal (NGT) deputy registrar Sheetal Sharma that led to a blanket ban on all tourism-related business at Solang, Rohtang and Marhi in the Kullu-Manali circuit of Himachal Pradesh, affecting the livelihood of thousands of people, was prepared in just three house of family trip.

Source
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Old 16th July 2015, 14:48   #26
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post

Indeed should be VERY interesting to see what July 16th (tomorrow) brings.

Thanks Again (know I've been ranting a bit here),

Eric
Yeah, today's decision should make this picture more clearer. I hope they do something regarding the livelihood of the people. And your rant is justified.
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Old 17th July 2015, 08:18   #27
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

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Yeah, today's decision should make this picture more clearer. I hope they do something regarding the livelihood of the people. And your rant is justified.
The NGT has refused to lift the ban on commercial activities.
"The principal NGT bench comprising Justice Swatanter Kumar and expert member Dr Devendra K Agrawal directed the Himachal Pradesh government to submit a plan for the rehabilitation of families whose livelihood has been affected by the ban. The tribunal also asked the government to hold consultations with stakeholders before compiling its report.The bench expressed its annoyance over the non-compliance of its ban order, while cautioning state government officers that no effort to undermine the NGT's authority would be tolerated."
http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/him...ng/107592.html
http://www.hindustantimes.com/himach...1-1369971.aspx
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Old 17th July 2015, 12:28   #28
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

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Originally Posted by sdp1975 View Post
Just read this on the HVK FB page.Source
Anyone following this thread really should read the SOURCE article. This is exactly what I was afraid of, and I do hope that the public is willing to hold public officials accountable in this and similar cases. If not, there's no good going to be done for the environment, the public, the Indian traveler, or anyone/anything else, because rules formed will be based on impressions and whims rather than on solid data; i.e., they will not fit the reality, and are likely to be ineffective at best, grossly counter-productive at worst.

Might add: the apparent lack of info with which things are being conducted is evidenced in the quote: "The bench said diesel-operated snow scooters would not be permitted". Now, I would challenge anyone to find one single diesel-operated snow scooter in the entire valley. They don't exist.

But the powers-that-be seem more irritated about failures to comply, than they are willing in any way to hear valid counterpoints / concerns on the basis of REALITY. The country desperately needs something like the NGT, but totalitarianism is a danger that should be carefully avoided.

Thanks for sharing this, and hope the truth (assuming the article is accurate) is widely disseminated.

EDIT: I guess, in light of the previous post, the NGT is not willing to concede anything... and I suppose time will tell whether they did the right thing or not. It is going to be a sad thing if ten years from now the overall environmental situation in the area has become worse, for the sake of a tourist point that nobody will be visiting by then anyway.

-Eric

Last edited by ringoism : 17th July 2015 at 12:45.
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Old 17th July 2015, 14:53   #29
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

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Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Anyone following this thread really should read the SOURCE article. .
.
.


-Eric
The problem is that people unqualified for the said task often make decisions. For example, who should be setting speed limits? Traffic engineers with a degree in traffic engineering etc., or the police?

What about emissions etc., Who should study them. Of course the answer is scientists with relevant equipment should conduct a thorough study, quantify their findings and then court should act in consultation with government and the people, so that a middle path can be found.

But that does not happen. Somebody files a PIL, somebody notices something, and then some order is given.

For example, in Delhi, research has time and again proved that 200,000 trucks that pass through to reach other destinations(some not even a year old) cause lot of pollution due to overload.

Reaction? Ban all diesel vehicles over 10 years of age. How many old vehicles are there with private owners. How much do they run? Nobody has done that study.

Ideally, a yard should be built at 4-5 entry points of Delhi with pollution control and weighbridge.

Overloading? Pollution? 50000rs fine and impound of truck.
The problem will go away.

But that requires work. A yard has to be set up, monitoring equipment has to be purchased, calibrated.. This also hits the bribe token system of police which goes all the way to the top.

So actual solution has two problems
  1. It requires work
  2. It kills bribe network
These are unacceptable things in India. So for a solution to be viable
  1. No work should be involved, as it violates the fundamental right of do not work
  2. No bribe should be impacted, as it violates the fundamental right to give and take bribe
And be it Delhi or Rohtang, this is what happens. Solutions which require no work are given precedence.
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Old 17th July 2015, 21:19   #30
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Default Re: NGT bans 2-wheelers from Rohtang Pass. EDIT: Those going onward can take permit from SDM

This is so ridiculous! So one arrogant NGT lady made the livelihood of thousands of people impossible. Let's do some math here.

According to her, 5000 vehicles went to Rohtang in 3 hours. Let's say that the length of a vehicle is 4 meters which is the most common form-factor of cars in India. So, 5000 * 4 = 20,000 m or 20 km! So on a 50 km path, a length of 20 km was covered by vehicles! She's out of her mind.
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