DEHRADUN: Uttarakhand government might lift the 'Inner Line Permit' in some areas of the hill state adjoining the border areas with an aim to develop areas for 'border tourism'.
State tourism minister Satpal Maharaj has spoken to his counterpart at the Center to speed up the procedure.
"I have spoken to the Union tourism minister and officials concerned for this (border tourism) and soon things will materialize. Along with border tourism, there will be tribal tourism and winter tourism. Initially, we have plans to open up Mukhba, Bagholi, and Harsil in the Gangotri by lifting the Inner Line Permit," said Maharaj.
The Inner Line Permit (ILP) is required to visit some areas of the state which are ecologically and otherwise deemed sensitive.
The idea is to encourage tourism and settlement of inhabitants which will help security forces develop vigil on the ground.
The receding population on the Uttarakhand-Nepal-China border has become a source of worry for the state government and security forces amidst increasing border tensions with Nepal.
The move comes amidst Chinese aggression along with the border issues with Nepal. Uttarakhand shares 350kms border with China and 275Kms with Nepal.
Recently, Indo-Tibetan Border Police chief SS Deswal met Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat to discuss the issue of border villages.
The ITBP has its presence on forward posts in Barahoti and Mana Pass.
The state government is already making efforts to repopulate empty villages in border areas and has sanctioned Rs 10 crore for developing necessary infrastructure.
The government is also setting up mobile towers in the areas where mobile network and internet access is poor.
As many as 16 border villages within 5 km range from the China border have been deserted by the residents fearing conflict with China, said a report submitted to the state government on July 21.