Restricted entry in N-E states has hampered tourism

New Delhi: Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma, on Friday lamented that even though the Centre was trying its best to promote tourism in the North East region, restrictive permits like PAP, RAP and ILP were proving to be major hindrances.

Addressing news persons here on the occasion of ‘Good Governance Day’ the Minister said, “The North East is a treasure trove as far as tourism is concerned with its unique bio-diversity, flora and fauna and even the Prime Minister in his ‘man ki baat’ radio address has declared to promote tourism in the region.”

But obstacles like Restricted Area Permit (RAP) in some areas and Inner Line Permit (ILP) in some states in the North East have proved to be hurdles in promoting tourism in the beautiful region, Sharma said. While RAP has been lifted in some areas by the Union Government, ILP is still in existence in some Northeastern states, he noted.

The Minister also pointed out that some states like Meghalaya and parts of Assam and Tripura, where ILP is not in vogue, are demanding for the same. This is happening despite the common knowledge that tourism is the only industry in the region that can provide employment avenues besides improving the economy of the region, he said. The Minister said that the Centre was granting visa on arrival to foreign tourist in as many countries as possible. “In many cases electronic visa is also available but within our own country we are facing these restrictive permits,” he said.

The Minister also informed that Rang Ghar in Sibsagar district of Assam has been identified as one of the 25 monuments to be included under Model Monuments from among the 3680 monuments & sites of national importance under its protection. These monuments would be provided necessary up to date tourist facilities, he added. The Shillong Times