CHANDIGARH: The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to charge tourists a “tax” to enter Atal Tunnel. The money thus generated would be used for infrastructure development and to compensate for the environmental impact of tourism. A barrier to collect tax has been set up at Sissu in Lahaul near Rohtang’s Atal Tunnel by the Special Area Development Authority (SADA), Keylong SDM Priya Nagra said.
A sum of Rs 50 will be charged from owners of two-wheelers. Those coming in cars (sedans/hatchback) will have to pay Rs 200 whereas those coming in SUVs will need to shell out Rs 300 to use the tunnel. The owners of buses and trucks will be asked to pay Rs 500. Vehicles with Himachal Pradesh registration are exempted from this ‘tax’. But those coming on vehicles registered in other states will have to pay.
Sources pointed out that the number of tourists visiting the tribal district of Lahaul-Spiti has seen a remarkable increase after the construction of the Atal Tunnel. The tax is expected to curtail the tourist inflow into this fragile Himalayan region. Besides, the money generated can be used for developmental works in the district. “The money collected will be used to improve tourist facilities in Lahaul and can also be used for the development of the region,” said an official of the state government.