In a move aimed at revitalizing the business sector and drawing premium tourists, the Himalayan state of Sikkim, particularly North Sikkim, is making strides to open its doors to foreign visitors in the picturesque villages of Lachung and Lachen. The Sikkim government, led by Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang, is set to send a formal request to the union government seeking permission for this initiative.
The proposal to welcome foreign tourists is grounded in the vision of Border Tourism and Sema Darshan development, where Lachung and Lachen hold significant potential. These vibrant villages sitauted in the heart of Sikkim, traditionally receive a considerable influx of tourists during the peak seasons, which span from March to May and October to December.
However, it's important to note that foreign tourists interested in exploring the enchanting landscapes of Lachen require an Inner Line Permit (ILP) issued under the guidelines of the Indian Home Ministry. This permit allows them to visit the ice-clad Lachen, an area situated in proximity to the Sino-Indian Border at an impressive altitude of 2,750 meters. Due to its proximity to the border, Lachen is classified as a 'Restricted Area,' emphasizing the need for ILPs.
To further enhance the tourist experience in Lachen and Lachung, Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang inaugurated the foundation stone laying ceremony for the ambitious Cho-Lung-Trul-Sum Cultural Complex at Lachung. This monumental project, sprawling across 10 acres, comes with an estimated cost of Rs 81 crore. As part of this initiative, a statue of Guru Padmasambhava will be installed, enriching the cultural and spiritual essence of the region. Additionally, the Chief Minister announced the annual Yak Fest, which promises to add vibrancy to the local festivities.
Lachen and Lachung collectively constitute a thriving tourism industry, contributing more than Rs 150 crore annually to the state's economy. By opening the doors to foreign tourists, this revenue is poised to witness significant growth, boosting local businesses and fostering economic development.
In a bid to maintain the pristine beauty and hygiene of the area, the Lachung Dzomsa has implemented a nominal charge of Rs 20 for each visitor, which will be allocated to the Lachung Dzomsa Development Fund. This fund will be dedicated to the holistic development of Lachung village and the upkeep of its surroundings.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang also pledged substantial investments in the infrastructure of Lachen and Lachung. A total of Rs 14 crore has been allocated for the construction of a modern sewerage system and efficient drainage system, with Rs 5 crore designated for Lachen and Rs 9 crore for Lachung.
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