Kufri and Naldehra in district Shimla of Himachal Pradesh are some of the most popular tourist destinations from British era. Naldehra is a beautiful scenic and one of the oldest golf courses in India. Lord Lytton loved this place very much as his camping ground. He was followed by the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon. He was fascinated by the scenic beauty and tranquility of this place. It is believed that he had named his third daughter after Naldehra. Similarly, Kufri is also believed to be discovered and explored by the British in 1819 as an excellent destination for summer vacations. But over-exploited for commercial tourism activities, current state of these two destinations is miserable.
Tourism is the main source of income for both locals and the district administration, these places are not monitored and managed by the Tourism Department of Himachal Pradesh (HPTDC). Both places are facing damage to natural beauty and sanitation due to unchecked commercial activity of mule owners. The entire place and trails for walking are filled with excreta of mules and smell of it chokes tourists.
The tourists have have no other option than hiring mules to reach the top. In monsoon, the entire place becomes a nightmare and paths meant for walking become sludgy pool of mixture of excreta and mud. The serene and tranquil environment is spoiled as the air is always filled with intense stench.
According to statistics, these areas have over 1,000 ponies/horses registered with the government. The horse owners are supposed to provide the administration with fixed amount that will be spent on cleanliness facilities and activities.
The administration has held four meetings to prepare comprehensive plan for management of these two places. District admin is also proposing a hike in the fee taken from mule owners from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 100,000. HP Public Works Department (HPPWD) has also been asked to construct two parallel pathways on either sides of muddy road to facilitate tourist with an alternative way of reaching Mahasu peak. About eight sanitation workers would be deployed to keep the places clean. To monitor activity of horse owners, the admin proposes placing CCTV cameras ay multiple places.
The horse owners are also reported overcharging tourists. To provide relief to visitors, the administration has planned to upload rate list proposed by the department on their website.
Like Kufri and Naldehra, other popular tourist destinations and spots are facing unchecked pollution. At Rohtang, vehicular emission and emission from commercial activities like dhabas, snow-scooters etc. had cast adverse effect on the fragile Himalayan ecology. After researches indicated rise in speed of glacier melting in nearby regions, the National Green Tribunal of India had to enforce ban on fossil fuel vehicles including all commercial activities. The decision met huge protest from locals who were dependent on tourism for livelihood. Cab owners were the worst hit by the ban.
It seems like Rohtang received relief at time, but lots of other spots are still victim of negligence.