In an effort to stop the spread of Corona Virus in the state; authorities have decided to not issue the Inner Line Permit for Sikkim to foreign national this year. This decision has been taken only for the state of Sikkim; but I would not be surprised if similar steps are taken in other Inner Line areas as well; like Leh Ladakh, Lakshwadeep or Spiti Valley.
In addition, permits for Nathu La will not be issued as well to anyone, including Indian citizens.
“In view of the rapid spread of corona virus, no ILP may be issued to foreign nationals, including those from Bhutan, with effect from today,” a Home Department notification issued by Joint Secretary Parina Gurung said.
Foreigners are required to obtain an Inner Line Permit from the state government to visit Sikkim. Indian Citizens must get a permit from the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department to visit Nathu La. So far, over 4 lakh people visiting the state have been checked and none have tested positive for Corona Virus. But the government seems to have decided to discourage the inflow of tourists in the first place.
On Wednesday, the decision was taken to suspend the ILP at a high-level meeting to review and discuss preparedness and action plan for any possible corona virus outbreak in the state following reports of confirmed cases of the novel corona virus in some parts of the country.
This is bound to hit the tourism industry of the state really bad. Even if we take out the foreigners, refusal to allow visiting Nathu La will significantly reduce the number of Indian tourists as well.
This rule will remain applicable until there is good news in terms of the virus outbreak and until it has been contained. For now, if you are a foreigner, my suggestion would be that you pick another place for your vacation. Indian citizens can go to Sikkim but Nathu La would have to be kept out.
I hope the information above on Inner Line permit for Sikkim this year was of help. If you have any further information or news, please feel free to share it in the comments section below.