Greater effort must for green tourism

Greater effort must for green tourism

On May 10, when the National Green Tribunal (NGT) eased curbs it had imposed on tourism activities in

Rohtang Pass in the past two years, it brought relief to the local people. Over 80 percent of those living

in villages and valleys around the high mountain pass of Himachal Pradesh depend on tourism for a

living. But a sense of uncertainty persists.

The prime reason for this is the state’s failure to implement an NGT order that directs it to plan a

transition to an eco-friendly transport system on the 51 km stretch, which connects important tourist

destinations and is located at an elevation of 3,978 metres on the Himalayas.

The NGT directive is based on reports that say increasing footfall due to tourism has hastened the

melting of glaciers and snowcapped mountains in the region. As an immediate measure to safeguard the

fragile area, NGT in 2014 banned tourist activities like paragliding, snow scooter riding and all-terrain

vehicles, horse riding and renting of local traditional dresses for photography.

A year later, it restricted the number of diesel and petrol vehicles entering the Pass to 1,000 a day,

including 600 petrol and 400 diesel vehicles.

Estimates show that around 7,000 vehicles used to ply the Pass in a day during the peak tourism season

between June and August. While the state is yet to introduce an eco-friendly transport system, on May

18 it asked NGT to lift all restrictions on tourism activities in Rohtang Pass.

Why the reluctance

Asper the NGT order, the Himachal Pradesh government was to set up two CNG stations along the

route—one at Tahliwal in Una district and the other in Manali district—and introduce CNG buses by May

2016. Once operational, these would be the world’s highest CNG transit system. But little has

materialised so far. The state government is acquiring land for Tahliwal station, while Manali station has

not moved beyond the planning stage.

The biggest hurdle is who will fund the transition and how. “No thought has gone into where the funds

would come from in case assistance from the Centre does not materialise,” says Sanjay Gupta,Additional

Secretary-in- charge of transport, Himachal Pradesh. The expected capital expenditure for the two CNG

stations is Rs 17.5 crore.

In December 2015, the state said that it can afford only the cost of setting up the plants, and asked the

NGT to arrange for a subsidy on the fuel. Later, it said that it cannot even afford setting up the CNG

stations. To the state’s relief, the Centre has agreed to lend its support, provided the state government

submits a business model. But the state is yet to submit one.

Feasibility of the green fuel and the stations is another concern the state has not assessed properly. The

Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) which was asked by NGT to assess the costs of transition says the

costs can be reduced considerably by setting up multiple CNG plants along the route.

But the state has not even asked them to assess the option. S P Sharma, chief operating officer, GAIL,

says the government is not considering the fact that the station at Manali would be open only for six

months when Rohtang Pass is accessible. Moreover, there are other costs and difficulties involved in

constructing the pipelines in such a terrain.

To determine the efficacy of CNG vehicles in high altitudes, the state government should have

conducted dedicated trials, but so far it has not. The Himachal Pradesh government ran only two single

journey trials of CNG buses, while NGT had directed it to run a month long trial.

According to a feasibility report by GAIL, CNG along the Manali-Rohtang Pass route would cost

approximately Rs 98 per kg compared to Rs 37.20 per kg in Delhi. The state claims that these estimates

are exaggerated.

France’s Perrenot Chooses 250 New Stralis NP for Fleet

Last week, Iveco, an Italian industrial vehicle manufacturer, launched the New Stralis NP at its

manufacturing base in Madrid, Spain. On the same day of the international launch, French

transportation and logistics company Perrenot Group placed an order for 250 of these natural gas

powered trucks — the largest fleet of natural gas trucks in Europe according to Pierre Lahutte, Iveco

Brand President.

Iveco sees such a significant order as a turning point in the transition towards sustainability in road

freight transport in Europe and validation of the company’s vision as a pioneer in the natural gas

industrial vehicle market for the past two decades. With the natural gas powered Daily, Eurocargo and

Stralis, Iveco offers product that now covers all market sectors – from urban distribution to international


Founded in 1945, Perrenot Group (formerly known as UNIC) has grown to be one of France’s leading

transport brands across all sectors (mass distribution, long haulage, construction, bulk, containers,

logistics, etc.), both nationally and internationally. Iveco is the dominant brand in Perrenot Group’s fleet.

The Group was among the first in Europe to use biomethane-powered Iveco tractors in their operations

in 2012. To this day, these remain the only vehicles capable of contributing to better air quality,

drastically reducing CO2 emissions, and halving noise levels.

In 2013, having tested other alternative energy solutions, Iveco’s natural gas technologies proved to be

the natural choice for Perrenot Group with the purchase of the first CNG refrigerated transporters

fuelled by liquid nitrogen. In 2014, the Group took yet another innovative step, commissioning the first

LNG tractors in France.

Jacky Perrenot, President and founder of Perrenot Group, stated: “Today we are taking a key step in our

development thanks to Iveco’s advanced natural gas technology – and in particular the brand’s new 400

hp engine. Combined with the dual LNG tank configuration, which increases the tractor’s range to 1500

km, this opens up new business opportunities for us, especially in long-distance transport operations.

The exceptional performance of the new Stralis NP confirms we made the right choice with Iveco’s

natural gas technology as the best alternative to diesel fuel, both economically and environmentally.”

Philippe Givone, President of the Perrenot Group Transport holding company, added: “For the first time

ever, these new Iveco natural gas trucks won’t be assigned to missions specific to them – instead, they

will replace diesel tractors on current missions, with no need for special adaptations. This is a major

change in our approach to freight transport – a change Iveco has seen coming for a long time now!”

Pierre Lahutte, Iveco Brand President, concluded: “With this historic order Perrenot Transport will be

running the largest fleet of natural gas trucks in Europe. For its part, Iveco has reached a further

milestone in its leadership in natural gas technologies for sustainable road transport. We are very proud

of Perrenot Group’s trust in Iveco, which is the result of the unique partnership that has allowed our two

groups to write a new important chapter in the history of sustainable transport in Europe.” chooses-250- new-stralis- np-for- fleet-0625

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