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Tourists entering Lahaul valley will have to pay a green cess soon as the Lahaul-Spiti administration is planning to impose environmental compensation on the visitors.
The administration has sent a proposal to the state government. Once approved, the visitors will have to pay the green cess. The amount collected from the visitors will be spent on greenery, cleanliness, and development work in the villages.
Thousands of vehicles carrying thousands of tourists are expected to enter Lahaul valley every day.
Besides bringing prosperity to the valley, Lahaul at an average altitude of 10,000ft is subjected to littering and sound and air pollution. To deal with the situation, the administration has started framing various policies.
The green cess collected from the visitors can be used in the restoration of the damages to the environment.
The administration is working on solid waste management. Littering by roadsides, temples, picnic spots, riversides, and main attractions will soon be common in Lahaul, as it is seen in other hill stations.
The administration has planned to give jute bags to all the tourist vehicles entering the valley so that tourists could store their trash in the bag and deposit it at the designated area before leaving the valley.
Manali also charges green fees from all the non-Himachal registered vehicles before entering the town. The environment compensation charges are imposed on vehicles going towards Rohtang pass for tourism purposes. So far there is no toll or any arrangement of a collection of any kind of tax on the Manali-Leh highway via Atal tunnel.
If the Himachal government gives its nod, the s moving on this highway may have to pay the fees.
Meanwhile, Lahaul faces an acute shortage of drinking water in inter-season when all water sources and pipes get frozen in extreme cold.
Stating that 24 hours water supply is mandatory for the boom in winter tourism, the administration is also working on providing all households and tourism units with running water.
Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner Pankaj Rai said, “The proposal to impose green cess has been sent to the state government.
We are working on providing water to Keylong 24 hours a day on a pilot project. The facility will be provided in other areas in a phased manner,” he said.