SRINAGAR: Amidst the ongoing dispute between rental bike operators in Leh and Manali, a significant meeting was convened by senior officials in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh,BD Mishra The Tribune reported. The primary agenda of the meeting was to address the demand for a ban on rental bikes from Himachal Pradesh.
A bilateral agreement restricted bikes from Leh to picking up clients in Keylong, while Manali rental bikes were prohibited from accessing Pangong and Nubra. However, in 2019, both sides accused each other of violating the pact.
Considering Ladakh shares its border with parts of Himachal Pradesh, it is common for tourists from various states to rent bikes from Manali as a means to reach Leh. However, the local rental bike operators in Leh have frequently claimed that this practice negatively impacts their business. The situation escalated recently when enraged residents of Leh vandalized 15 bikes and a pick-up truck that had been rented from Manali.
The Ladakh Bike Rental Cooperative Limited and the Bikers Association of Manali find themselves entangled in this conflict, with accusations of agreement violations being thrown at each other in the past. Due to the outbreak of the Covid pandemic and subsequent travel restrictions, the issue was put on hold temporarily. However, with the arrival of the tourist season, the matter has resurfaced.
During the meeting with LG BD Mishra, Tashi Gyalson, Chairman of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) in Leh, highlighted that the conflict between the two bike associations was leading to law and order issues. Also present at the meeting were Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Ladakh, Satish Khandare, and Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Ladakh, Mohd Nazir Sheikh.
An official, while speaking to The Tribune disclosed that the LG was briefed about the necessity of restricting the interstate movement of motorcycles from Himachal into Ladakh. Tashi Gyalson emphasized the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act during the meeting, pointing out that while the Rent-a-Cab scheme of 1989 allows for the operation of cabs in other regions, the Rent-a-Motorcycle Scheme of 1987 does not permit motorcycles registered under it to operate in different regions.
“The LG advised the officials to await the ruling of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in accordance with the order passed by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, to ensure that appropriate measures can be taken to safeguard the livelihood of Ladakhi youth engaged in the rental bike business,” stated an official, as per The Tribune.