As Ladakh lifts inner line permit requirements, tourists and tour operators have mixed feelings on the move. Speaking to ANI, Ravi, a tourist stated that the step would ease the burden on travellers who had to earlier visit government offices for the inner line permit. On the other hand, All Ladakh Tour Operators Association (ALTOA) chief Delex Namgyal, was doubtful about tourists' safety as the Union Territory shares borders with Pakistan and China.
"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," said Ravi, a tourist from Jammu
On the contrary, "We support inner line permits. 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 altitude acclimatised. Livelihood will be affected, we used to get bookings," said Delex Namgyal, All Ladakh Tour Operators Assn (ALTOA) president.
Commenting on the new ILP move, Taxi Union Secretary Stobgyal said, "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".
On Friday, Ladakh Home Department lifted the requirement of inner line permit required to travel the Union Territory (UT) for all Indian nationals including domestic tourists and local residents. Ladakh Home Department, in its official notification, directed the Superintendents and Deputy Superintendents stating that 'residents of the protected area' can visit other protected areas 'without any permit'. This comes barely days after two years of abrogation of Article 370.
Ladakh's tourism, which has been hit COVID, the police has launched its Tourists' Wing. As per the officials, the wing will deal with the issues faced by the tourists visiting the union territory. The personnel will also ensure environment-friendly activities by the tourists. Speaking on the occasion, Lieutenant Governor R K Mathur said with the help of technology, the tourist wing of the Ladakh Police will handle rescue missions and other medical emergencies faced by tourists. A balance between assisting the tourists and adherence to legal aspects will be the key element defining the successful operation of this new tourist police wing, the LG said.