The Ladakh administration has said that Inner Line Permits (ILP) will no longer be required for Indians looking visit previously inaccessible parts of the Union Territory. While the earlier rules had required all tourists to pay a certain fee and obtain a permit to visit areas such as Khardung La, Pangong Tso and Nubra Valley, this is no longer necessary.
There has been no change for foreign tourists, who will continue to require a Protected Area Permit (PAP) in order to visit these areas. PAP and ILP are available online on the official website as well as offline.
"This is a very positive step. Earlier tourists had to visit the offices for the inner line permit, now they will be relaxed. It will be helpful to them," Ravi, a tourist from Jammu told news agency ANI.
Local businesses however were less approving.
Farmers harvest the wheat crops, at Zanskar | Photo: ANI
"We support inner line permit. We share our borders with Pakistan and China. Tourists' safety is a reason too. We used to give them minimum two nights stay to get acclimatised to the altitude. Livelihood will be affected, we used to get bookings," said Delex Namgyal, the President of the All Ladakh Tour Operators Association.
"I don't think this will greatly affect the taxi operators here. In fact, I think we will get more tourists. This will get easier for us. Earlier the taxi operators had to wait, as the permit was made first. Now it will be easier," opined Stobgyal, the Taxi Union Secretary.
A flock of sheep grazing in Zangskar valley, in Kargil | Photo: ANI
(With inputs from agencies)
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