NEW DELHI: Union Tourism Minister Shripad Naik has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to extend the visa-on-arrival scheme to Bodh Gaya and Varanasi airports.
Both Bodh Gaya and Varanasi are well-known pilgrim centres, frequented by Buddhists and tourists. Varanasi also happens to be Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency. Various ministries are chalking out plans to provide more facilities to the historic city, as promised by Modi during his election campaign. Naik, in his letter to senior ministers, requested to start the visa-on-arrival facility, which is currently available at select airports, at Bodh Gaya and Varanasi airports. This would require approval from the Home Ministry and External Affairs Ministry, besides scaling up security apparatus at these airports.
The Tourism Minister also pitched for the launch of Electronic Travel Authorisation or e-visa at nine airports on October 2, Gandhiji’s birth anniversary. While presenting the budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had referred to starting of e-visa facilities.