New Delhi, Aug 27 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has summoned secretaries of the Forest Department and the Urban Development of the Himachal Pradesh government to explain “unsatisfactory progress” in the Manali-Rohtang ropeway project. Also Read - Kareena Kapoor Khan, Son Taimur Ali Khan Try Their Hands on Pottery as They Vacay in Dharamshala | See Pics

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adradh Kumar Goel noted that despite its direction to expedite the work on “Palchan Rohtang” ropeway, forest clearance has not been granted to it. Also Read - Night Curfew, Cap on Wedding Guests, Mandatory Test For Travel: How States Are Fighting Fresh COVID Spike

“We find it difficult to understand why forest clearance has not been granted in spite of directions of this tribunal. Also Read - Schools, Colleges in Himachal to Remain Closed Till Dec 31; Teachers to Work From Home

“It is further stated that the project will be completed within 48 months after the clearance is granted. In view of emergent situation as set out in the orders of this Tribunal dated February 6, 2014 and further orders mentioned in our last order dated July 17, 2018, such a long timeline seems to be unjustified and to defeat the purpose of the order of this tribunal,” the bench said.

The tribunal also noted that no strict timeline has been furnished with regard to creation of parking facilities at Gulaba Beas Nallah (below Marhi) and below Rohtang.

“Similarly, for the new Sewage Treatment Plant, no timeline is mentioned for completing the tender process.

“We, accordingly, direct that the tender process be completed positively within four weeks. In view of unsatisfactory progress of compliance of directions of this tribunal, we consider it appropriate to direct the secretary, Forest Department and secretary Urban Development of the Himachal Pradesh government to remain present on the next date to explain their stand,” the tribunal said.

The green panel had earlier asked the state government to make all possible efforts to take forest clearance from the competent authority.

With regard to rehabilitation of people affected due to the ropeway project, the tribunal had made it clear that the people, who will be displaced of their business, would be given complete priority for rehabilitation under the Relief and Rehabilitation scheme prepared by the state government.

The Himachal Pradesh government had earlier signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Malana Ropeway Pvt Ltd for execution of the 9-km long Palchan-Rohtang ropeway to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 390 crore.

The NGT has directed the state government to explore the possibility of passenger ropeways to other places like Bhrigu Laka, Hamta Pass, Patalsu Peak, Kothi Peak, Shilla Thatch and Chanderkhani Pass, where tourists can see snow.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.