“On the intervention of the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to relax the ‘Protected Area Permit’ for foreigners visiting various parts of Ladakh and as a consequence foreign tourists will be now able to visit various parts of the Nubra Valley. The necessary notification has been issued by MHA in this regard”, said an official spokesman.
Given the sensitivity of the area, foreign tourists were allowed to visit certain areas and not the entire Nubra valley. There has been a demand from the local population that the Protected Area Permit (PAP) be relaxed and more areas be brought under the ambit of tourism circuit so that foreigners could also visit entire Nubra Valley.
Situated at the average altitude of 10,000 feet, the Nubra Valley is known for its breathtaking beauty, gushing rivers, Buddhist monasteries and Pashmina goat rearing.
“There was some restriction in some parts of Nubra. Foreigners were not allowed to visit Turtuk and Yarma. In fact Tutuk was liberated from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir in 1971. Yerma falls on the way to the Siachen glacier,” Dr Sonam Dawa Lonpo, chief executive councilor (CEC) of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh.
Two years back the government had scrapped the inner line permit system for all Indian nationals and thrown open the restricted and sensitive areas near the border in Ladakh for domestic tourists after 35 years.
Inner line permits system was started in 1978 for different reasons to prevent the unwanted ingress to these areas which are very sensitive from the security point of view.
Officials said since these areas are on the borderline, the establishment wanted to maintain security of the area in all measures. Plus some of the areas are home to some of the ancient tribes and government wanted to protect them by controlling the movement of people into these areas.
“It (relaxing the PAP) will definitely boost the tourist sector in our area. It has been our long pending demand right from the beginning,” said Dr Dawa.