Tourists heading to Uttarakhand may soon have to pay a green tax on their visit. If you’re heading to the picturesque state for adventure sports, or planning a big wedding in the Himalayas, you will have to pay a mandatory green tax, reports Times of India.
The local urban body will soon be making a final decision on the tax. All the revenue generated will go towards developing the area while also promoting eco-friendly practices.
Why did the Uttarakhand green tax come into being?
The issue of growing pollution was highlighted by the Uttarakhand Environment Protection and Pollution Control Board (UEPPCB). It was brought up in a meeting with Forest and Environment Minister Harak Singh Rawat.
Uttarakhand was last in the news when an Indian family generated a huge amount of trash (around 200 kg) in Auli after a wedding celebration. It took almost a week to clear the waste from the ecologically sensitive area. With growing concerns of over tourism and other environmental risks, the green tax is a means to battle them.
Is the Uttarakhand green tax necessary?
Uttarakhand’s economy is greatly reliant on tourism. The state is renowned for wildlife tourism and adventure activities. People also visit the state for pilgrimages. As per latest records, 2.25 crore domestic and 1.1 lakh foreign tourists visited the state in 2015. This is based on data collected by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASSOCHAM).
Since over tourism has been a grave concern in the state, the Uttarakhand High Court asked the Uttarakhand Government to restrict the number of tourists. Tourists visiting high mountain alpine meadows are now limited to only 200 at any given time.
After the incident at Auli, the ecologically sensitive state wants to take necessary steps to ensure that tourists travel in a sustainable manner. Uttarakhand is also developing eco-tourism spots within the state to encourage eco-tourism.