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In a boost for green transport in Himachal Pradesh, Transport Minister G S Bali Thursday flagged off the country’s first electric bus service for Rohtang Pass, a tourist destination near Manali.

Bali termed it a pioneering initiative to check vehicular pollution at Rohtang Pass in the wake of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders to restrict the number of diesel and petrol operated tourist vehicles in the ecologically fragile area.

The launch of the electric bus service before Dussehra festivities in Kullu could benefit tourists, who otherwise had to struggle to get permits for taking their vehicles to Rohtang Pass. Bali said the HRTC, which will run the electric bus service, will make 10 vehicles available in Kullu and later the facility would be extended to other areas.

The minister also laid the foundation stone for a Rs 30-crore modern bus stand at Kullu.