Centre to ease access to border areas with an eye on tourism

The Tawang Monestry, Asia's second largest monestry located, in Tawan, Arunachal Pradesh.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

The Centre is set to relax the Protected Area Permit (PAP) regime to enable foreign tourists to access border areas. The move follows several requests from the border States of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Manipur, as also the Tourism Ministry.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, an MP from Arunachal Pradesh, tweeted on Saturday that the Ministry had decided to relax PAP.

He was responding to a tweet by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who posted pictures of “Shungetser Lake at Tawang,” describing it as “paradise on earth.” “Yesterday, I took a review meeting in Home Ministry & decided to relax Protected Area Permit regime of this paradise on earth. People must see such amazing places, which also will create job opportunity & revenue for the State,” Mr. Rijiju tweeted.

Policy decisions

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Rijiju said, “The MHA is taking a lenient view to open up and relax the PAP regime in some border areas for tourists on the requests of the State governments, including Arunachal Pradesh. We are taking some policy decisions.”

Earlier, the Tourism Ministry had written to the Home Ministry, seeking to ease the registration of these permits. It also sought an extension of these permits from the existing one year to two years. Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958, all areas falling between the ‘Inner line’ and the International Border of the State have been declared as a ‘Protected Area,’ applicable to all of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.

Every foreigner, except a citizen of Bhutan, who wants to enter and stay in a Protected Area, is required to get a special permit. Citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin are not issued the permit without the Home Ministry’s approval.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 1:03:01 PM |

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