The Ladakh administration has done away with the Inner Line Permit for Indian nationals and local residents visiting all notified protected areas of Ladakh because ILP has “lost its relevance”, Mehboob Ali, secretary for tourism and culture in Ladakh told TOI on Thursday on the sidelines of a three-day event by the Union Tourism ministry, to promote Ladakh as a preferred tourism destination.
An Inner Line Permit was a document both domestic and foreign tourists needed to obtain for visiting popular tourists areas like the Nubra valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Dah and Hanu Villages, Man, Merak, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Turtuk, and Chushul. The UT did away with the ILP earlier this month.
Foreign tourists will still need to apply for an inner line permit to visit the protected areas. However, the validity of their ILP has been extended to 15 days from the seven days period earlier.
“With the opening up of domestic tourism in Ladakh, we found there is hardly any need for an ILP because it was creating a lot of logistical problems for tourists. That is why, after consulting with all stakeholders and realising it has lost its relevance, we did away with ILP. But tourists must still pay an environment fee online or in cash. There have been restrictions on visiting border areas, but slowly, these too will be lifted except in areas with border problems,” Ali said.
Speaking at the event, Union tourism and culture minister G Kishen Reddy said his ministry will spend 50,000 crore in developing infrastructure in Ladakh sustainably.
Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur, on the other hand, emphasised the need to promote winter, science-based and pastoral tourism in Ladakh. “The presence of heritage sites per square kilometre in Ladakh is higher than anywhere else in the country,” Mathur said, emphasising the cultural, topographical and geological uniqueness of the region.
Mathur also said Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh will inaugurate on November 18 this year, a war memorial at Rezang La, where an epic heroic battle was fought during the Indo-China war of 1962.
Laying great emphasis on sustainable and responsible tourism, the Ladakh administration also announced on Thursday that no new projects will be approved in the UT if they do not comply with the principle of carbon neutrality, as prescribed by Prime minister Narendra Modi, adding that Ladakh has set itself a target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025.
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