In a welcome news for travelers, Manali SDM, Mr Hem Raj Bairwa has said, permit for vehicles heading to Ladakh and Lahaul Valley will now be available online.
Until last year, permit for Rohtang Pass was available online, while permit for Ladakh and Lahaul had to be procured from Manali. This used to cause confusion and inconvenience to travelers and district administration has finally decided to remedy it.
For the uninitiated, here is the different between these two permits:
Rohtang Pass Permit: This permit is issued for the tourism purpose and vehicles with this permit can only go till Rohtang Pass from Manali. As per NGT guidelines, only 800 petrol vehicles and 400 diesel vehicles will be issued these permits daily. You also need to have a Himachal registered vehicle to avail this permit and it is issued on first cum first serve basis.
Permit for Ladakh and Lahaul: This permit is required, if you plan to cross Rohtang Pass and travel to Ladakh, Lahaul, Spiti or Pangi. You do not need a Himachal registered vehicle for this and neither is there any restriction on number of vehicles, which can be issued this permit each day.
10 years or older vehicles: Vehicles which are 10 years or older won’t be issued either of these permit and cannot approach Rohtang Pass from Manali. However, as of now, there is no restriction on such vehicles traveling from Ladakh, Lahaul, Spiti and Pangi to Rohtang Pass and then on to Manali.
Those who are planning to cheat the system by obtaining permit for Ladakh and Lahaul, and then traveling back to Manali after visiting Rohtang Pass will now have to deal with computerized barricades at Gulaba and Koksar.
This is being done, since quite a few people used to try and cheat the system and take their own vehicles to Rohtang Pass, defeating the very purpose of NGT’s order.
HRTC would also be running electric buses this year for those who wish to visit Rohtang Pass and do not wish to hire the expensive taxis from Manali.
Manali Taxi Union in the meanwhile is demanding that the Gulaba check post should be shifted from Gulaba to Marhi. Since Marhi has less vegetation and more space for parking. Government on the meanwhile is planning to convert Marhi Market to an eco-friendly market to reduce its environmental impact.
Overall it is a good development, which will be beneficial to rule abiding travelers heading beyond Rohtang Pass.