NEW DELHI: There’s good news for the North-east and delight for the foreign nationals wanting to be a witness to the scenic beauty and the colorful culture of the region. In a move that brings smile to many, an attempt is being made to promote tourism, particularly for foreign nationals, in the various states of the North-east India.

One of the major development in this area is the exclusion of all the areas of the three northeastern states- Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland from the Protected Area Permit (PAP) regime for foreign tourists till December 31, this year, subject to certain conditions.

Besides this advancement, certain relaxations have also been allowed in PAP regime in Arunachal Pradesh.

Additionally, a proposal is also under consideration in order to simplify the permit system for Green Lake trekking in the state of Sikkim.

The Lower House of the Parliament, the Rajya Sabha was informed about these developments yesterday when the Union Home Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju stated them in a written reply to Dr Chandan Mitra.

Another progress in the tourism industry for the N-E is that some areas notified by the government can now be visited by foreign tourists, either in groups, or as a couple in the case of a husband and wife, or by individuals, but ceratinly after obtaining the necessary permit from the competent authority.

It is only pertinent to mention here that the Protected Area Permit (PAP) is required for non-Indian citizens to visit certain areas in India, mainly in the North East. Certain specifications are required in order to obtain such a permit. Every foreigner, who desires to enter and stay in a Protected Area, is required to obtain a special permit from a competent authority to issue such a special permit to a foreigner on application. In cases where the powers have not been delegated to any subordinate authority by the Government, the application for special permit should be referred to the Home Ministry for prior approval, at least eight weeks before the date of the expected visit. The PAP comes under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order 1958.