SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 03: In a significant decision, the State Government has ordered relaxing the Protected Area Permit (PAP) regime for allowing the foreigners to visit the hitherto restricted areas in district Leh.

A formal notification in this regard has been issued by the State’s Home Department vide SRO-313 dated: 27.09.2016.

According to a spokesman of the Home Department, by virtue of this notification, foreign tourists will now be permitted to visit a number of unexplored areas like Panamik, Phukpochey, Hargam, Taksha, Sasoma, Chaglung, Kobet, Aranu, Khemi, Warshi, including Yarma Gompa/ Yarma Gonbo Monastery of the Nubra Valley in district Leh.

Pertinently, these areas were thrown open for the local tourists in 2015 creating a positive impact on the life and livelihood of the people residing in these remote areas.

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.

The Home Department spokesman said that after taking note of the positive dividends emanating from the initiative, and to further augment the opportunities of employment and income generation for the local youth, the State Government has decided to open up the area for ‘foreign tourists’ as well. “With this decision, a long pending demand of the people of the Nubra Valley and Ladakh has been fulfilled, which in effect, is expected to give considerable boost to the local economy of Nubra Valley,” he said adding the flow of foreign tourists to the new areas from Panamik to Warshi, is expected to substantially enhance the earnings of the people, and transform their socio-economic profile.

Pertinent to mention that Ladakh has, over the years, emerged as a prime tourist destination, and is attracting tourists, both domestic and foreigners, in significant numbers. State Government has been consistently taking steps to expand the possibilities of tourist activities in this beautiful region of the State, with the purpose of enabling it to harness full potential in the realm of tourism. Creation of top-notch tourist infrastructure, providing of enabling policy framework and opening of hitherto restricted areas for tourism purpose, have been key components of the strategy being followed by the State Government to give fillip to the tourist trade in the region.

The latest decision of the State Government is a continuation of the policy to further enhance footfall of tourists in Ladakh region as also reflects the abiding commitment of the Government to expand the sphere of economic opportunities for the people in every nook and corner of the State.