Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand), October 4
The ITBP has decided to allow tourists, mountaineers and trekkers to go up to the Milam glacier without an inner-line permit, a mandatory requirement that was in place for decades.
Located at a height of around 18,000 feet, the Milam glacier is one of the most popular tourist destinations in this Uttarakhand district and the necessity of carrying an inner-line permit to go there was adversely affecting tourism prospects.
“The ITBP has ordered its staff to let every tourist go up to the Milam glacier without carrying an inner-line pass,” Munsiyari Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Yashbir Singh said.
“We received a letter from Robin Kumar, Deputy Commandant of the 14th Battalion of the ITBP, informing us about its decision to do away with the restriction as it was affecting tourism,” Singh said.
The ITBP’s decision to exempt tourists and adventure sports enthusiasts going to the Milam glacier from the requirement of carrying an inner-line permit comes in response to a request made last month by the Pithoragarh district administration.
“We had written to the ITBP on September 15, requesting it to lift the restriction in compliance with a letter issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in October 1993,” the SDM said.
However, the ITBP followed the convention of not letting people go beyond a place called Lilam, located at a distance of 12 km from Munsiyari, without an inner-line pass due to safety concerns as the route is vulnerable to landslides and road blocks.
The Milam glacier is located at a distance of 61 km from Munsiyari.
However, with increased pressure from the administration, tourists and traders, and in the light of the MHA letter, the ITBP has decided to relax the norm.
Trekkers, researchers and ordinary tourists are going to benefit from the decision, the SDM said.
“The requirement of an inner-line permit was extremely frustrating for the trekkers and researchers keen on exploring the high Himalayan region,” said Puran Pandey, a hotelier in Munsiyari.
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