After 35 Yrs, Permit System For Indians Comes To An End In Leh

3 May 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: In a significant development, which will go a long way in boosting tourism and developmental activities, the Leh administration has quashed the Inner Line Permit system for the Indians with effect from May 1, 2014. With this, 35 years long practice, which was otherwise causing inconvenience to the Indian visitors and giving several wrong impressions, has come to an end. Official sources told EXCELSIOR that the practice of issuing Inner Line Permits to Indian visitors including tourists and labourers, was started in 1978 because of varied reasons and on their arrival at Leh they were required to obtain Inner Line Permits from the office of the District Magistrate for visiting various areas of the district. Though the office of the District Magistrate was issuing Inner Line Permits to the Indian visitors free of the cost, yet the system was creating difficulties for the visitors in timely getting the permits. On the days of holidays, the visitors were being compelled to stay put at the district headquarters till issuance of permit by the concerned officials in the office of the District Magistrate, sources said. 'The system had also created several vested interests within and outside the office of the District Magistrate. Sometimes, the visitors were being compelled to bribe the officials for expeditiously getting the permits. Even some shopkeepers had also made managing permits for the visitors a business and were seen charging money for providing the permits', sources said, adding the system had even unnecessarily burdened the officials of the office of District Magistrate. Taking into consideration all these aspects, the District Magistrate, Simrandeep Singh decided to bring an end to this more than 35 years old practice and on April 24, 2014, he issued a public notice regarding quashing of the Inner Line Permit system for the Indian visitors with effect from May 1, 2014. From May 1, the identify cards like Indian Passport, Driving License, Service Identity Cards with photograph issued by the Central-State Governments-PSUs, PAN Card, Aadhar Card, Smart Card issued by Registrar General of India under National Population Register and Election ID Card are being treated as Inner Line Permits for the Indian nationals. By way of proper order, the District Magistrate has conveyed to all the agencies including security forces that they shall treat these identity cards as Inner Line Permits for the Indian nationals. The routes which are permissible with these identity cards are Khaltse Sub-Division (Drokanpa area) having Khaltse-Domkhar-Skurbuchan-Hanudo-Biama-Dha circuit; Nyoma Sub-Division having Leh-Karu-Chang Lal-Durbuk-Tangtse-Lukung-Spangmik-Manmerak (Pangong Lake) and Leh-Upshi-Chumathang-Mahe-Puga-Tsomoriri Lake-Korzok-Loma Bend circuits and Nubra Sub-Division having Leh-Khardung La-Khalsar-Hunder-Turtuk-Pachathang-Tyakshi, Leh-Khardung La-Trith up to Panamic and Leh-Saboo-Digger La to Khungru Gompa-Tangyar circuits. 'For these routes, the Indian nationals need not come to the office of District Magistrate for obtaining Inner Line Permits', the order said. However, there is no change in the Inner Line Permit system for the foreign nationals, who still have to obtain the permit from the office of District Magistrate in terms of the orders of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. When contacted, District Magistrate, Simrandeep Singh said, 'besides reducing inconvenience to the Indian tourists, the quashing of Inner Line Permit system would also help in carrying out of developmental activities without any hurdles as now labourers will not have to visit District Magistrate office for obtaining permit and then for its renewal'. 'Not only the developmental activities in the Government sector even the civilians were facing numerous difficulties as during the earlier system the labourers were required to first obtain permits and then renew it after every 30 days', he added. In response to a question, he said, 'the administration was issuing Inner Line Permits only on the production of seven specific identity cards and treating these cards as permits would go long way in minimizing the inconvenience to the visitors'.