‘Ministry for opening NE to tourists’

NEW DELHI, May 20: The tourism ministry has proposed lifting restrictions on foreigners travelling to Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Sikkim, Minister KJ Alphons has said.
Foreigners now need special permits such as a Protected Areas Permit (PAP) and Restricted Areas Permit (RAP) to be able to travel in these areas.
“The ministry has proposed opening up the Northeast for tourists. In the last six months the government has opened up many restricted areas, and if the plan in the Northeast works, then many more border areas can be opened up,” Alphons told PTI.
The ministry proposed this on 17 May at a meeting with senior home affairs and defence ministry officials.
Any change would be subject to the approval of the ministries because the issue related to India’s security, he said.
“The states too need to be consulted and as of now we cannot give a deadline for this. However, over the past six months we have been working very fast on this,” Alphons said.
The tourism ministry, he added, is also planning to propose that travel restrictions be removed from border areas in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh. (PTI)