Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir government today batted strongly for extending the inner line permit, a necessary document for visiting Ladakh region, for foreign tourists despite concerns expressed by the army. “The matter regarding extending the inner line permit for foreign tourists from Panamik to Varshi, including Yarma, Gumpa and Yarma Gongu monastery (in protected areas) in Nobra valley of Leh district, has been taken up with the Ministry of Home Affairs by the state government in February this year, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said.
Sayeed, who holds the portfolio of tourism, said this in a written reply to the question of member Deldan Namgyal in state Legislative Assembly today. The reasons for restrictions for these areas to foreign tourists is that they fall in northern border districts of J&K and are covered by the Protected Area Regime under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958. The government allows foreign tourists to visit some protected areas up to Tyakshi in Nobra sub-division with certain conditions under the protected areas permit order.
The administration had issued an order on January 16, 2015 by virtue of which domestic tourists are now permitted in protected areas which come under Nobra sub-division circuit. The Army had expressed concerns over allowing foreign tourists to visit these protected area.
On January 21, the headquarters of 14 Corps in Leh had intimated that the army recommends extension of inner line permit beyond Panamik with the pre-condition of establishing a police post to restrict foreign tourists beyond Varshi and along the road Sasoma-Sasrila to address their concerns, a state government official said in a letter to Secretary, MHA.