Couple fined for driving SUV on sand dunes

SUV in Nubra
The couple was driving their car on the sand dunes of Nubra Valley

A couple has been fined for driving an SUV on the ecologically sensitive sand dunes of Nubra Valley in northern India.

Police said that the couple from Jaipur city were on a vacation in Ladakh.

They were found driving over the sand dunes in Hunder, a picturesque village in Leh district known for its cold desert landscape.

A fine of 50,000 rupees ($643; £512) was imposed on them for “violating prohibitory orders”.

“District police Leh requests tourists not to ply on sand dunes as you damage the natural landscape,” the police said in a Facebook post on Thursday.

The federally administered territory of Ladakh is a stunningly beautiful but sparsely populated region with pristine landscapes and towering mountains. The place is popular with tourists who throng the region during the summer months of May and June.

But experts say the uncontrolled numbers of tourists has damaged the beauty of the ecologically sensitive region.

In April, a video showing two men racing their Audi through the waters of Pangong Lake went viral on social media, sparking anger.

The video showed the men screaming out of the car’s sunroof with alcohol and water bottles and packets of crisps strewn by the banks of the river.

On Thursday, many praised the Leh police for taking swift action against the couple. “Very proud of our District Police Leh…Please keep the mountains/ landscape clean and wish to see more of such strict traffic rules!” one person wrote on Facebook.

“Hats off, Ladakh Police,” another commented.

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