LAHDC revokes permit system for Indian tourists

‘Move aimed to make visit of domestic visitors hassle-free’

To make travel of Indian tourists to Leh hassle-free, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) has done away with permit system. Earlier, the tourists both domestic and foreign were required to obtain permissions from the district authorities before embarking on a journey to tourism destinations like Nubra Valley, Turtuk, Hot Spring and Pangong Lake in Ladakh.
Without inner-line permit, tourists were not allowed to travel to these places and the inner-permit was checked at various check posts en route these destinations by Army officials before allowing further movement.
But now the authorities have revoked the earlier order making the journey of tourists hassle-free.
Additional Deputy Commissioner, Leh, Hassan Khan told Greater Kashmir over phone that government has done away with inner line permit system for national tourists intending to visit Nubra, Turtuk, Pangong and other places nearby China border.
“The decision has came into effect from May 1 and now national tourists can easily visit these places without requiring any permission. However the foreign tourists need to apply for inner line permits for visiting such places,” Khan said.
He said the decision has been taken after consultation with stakeholders and following good national tourist inflow. Seeking permission from local authorities was cumbersome exercise for tourists.
The order issued by District Magistrate Leh in this regard reads as: “ Tourists visiting Leh district, who are Indian nationals now onwards need not to obtain inner-line permits. And their Indian passport, driving license, service identity cards with photograph, Election Id card PAN card, Aadhar card shall henceforth be treated as inner lime permits.”
The orders states that routes leading to Leh — Khardung La — Khalsar – Hunder — Turtuk — Pachathang — Tyakshi, Leh — Khardung La — Trith upto Panamic,Leh – Saboo – Digger La – Khungru Gompa – Tangyar (trekking only),Leh – Karu – Chang La – Durbuk – Tangtse – Lukung – Spangmik – Man – Merak (Pangong Lake),Leh – Upshi – Chumathang – Mahe – Puga – Tsomoriri Lake – Korzok – Loma Bend,Khaltse – Domkhar – Skurbuchan – Hanudo – Biama – Dha are accessible for Indian visitors without seeking any permission.
Meanwhile, the tourism players in the Leh have welcomed the decision stating that this will help tourism sector in the region.
“We are receiving good number of Indian tourists and they had to earlier undergo the hectic process of obtaining inner-line permits for travelling to Nubra valley and Pangong lake which are must visit places for tourists and the recent decision has been welcomed by the travel fraternity in ladakh,” Tseng Dolma, a Leh-based tour operator said, adding that getting permission usually used to waste one-day of tourist.  
To mention, restricted areas of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region till 2012 were out of bounds for foreigners and then after March 2013 government opened these areas to visitors from various foreign countries with the exception of those from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Burma who will still require Union Home Ministry’s approval for the same.