Virbhadra Singh on Rohtang Pass

Climate change perhaps caused by global warming, not vehicular traffic, says CM Virbhadra

Shimla: While speaking at a public meeting at Bahang, Manali of Kullu district on September 11, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh expressed disagreement over the restriction imposed on the entries of vehicles to Rohtang Pass.

After coming under fire for controversial remarks on sensitive issues like Kotkhai rape-murder case, he has given another statement that has invited another debate.

Referring to environmental degradation of Rohtang Pass, he said, “The climate change was perhaps due to global warming and not vehicular traffic”.

He supported this argument by saying that there has been vehicular movement through this pass since ages as it is also a gateway to Lahaul and Spiti and to Leh-Ladakh.

Technically, the two terms – climate change and global warming refer to two different physical phenomena that are co-related. Overall warming of the planet leads to change in patterns of climate. However, the cause of the global warming, thus, climate change, is emissions from various sources, biggest being industries and vehicles.

The statement suggests denial from taking responsibility for increased vehicular emissions. It is true that traffic on the pass has gone much higher than it was a decade ago. With the rise in traffic, it is obvious that emissions will also rise.

Nevertheless, Kullu-Manali is known worldwide for its tourism potential and the government is committed to exploit the vast tourism potential of the region, he justified.

The orders of the NGT to reduce traffic congestion to curb rising vehicular pollution have affected those who earn their livelihood from small kiosks and dhabas en-route Rohtang. He said, for people employed in taxi service earned their bread and butter by carrying tourists to the Rohtang Pass, he added.

He said though personally, he was not in favor of the Palchan-Rohtang ropeway, he would take up this matter with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to resolve the issue in an effective manner, said the Chief Minister.

He also alleged BJP of politicising the issue for their benefit. The environment is a big issue and the traffic should be minimized on this route but not bring to complete halt, he said.

The fate of AIIMS was hanging midair due to infighting of the leaders of BJP despite the fact the state government has given enough land as required, he said.

Photo: BCMTOURING

Stay updated on the go with Himachal Watcher News App. Click here to download it for your android device.