Kailash Mansarovar Yatra withheld this year, as Sikkim closes Nathu La Pass


Kailash Mansarovar Yatra withheld this year, as Sikkim closes Nathu La Pass

The Sikkim Government has announced to close the trade route between India and China, i.e., the Nathu La pass and the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via the pass this year, in a move to stop the spread of COVID-19. This was announced by Sikkim Tourism Minister BS Panth.

The border trade via Nathu La Pass was scheduled to start from May, whereas the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via the said route was supposed to begin in June.

Kailash Mansarovar is in Tibet, and the Ministry of External Affairs organises the Mansarovar Yatra from the month of June till September every year, via two different routes, i.e., the Nathu La Pass in Sikkim and Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand. This yatra, reportedly, sees tons of pilgrims from across the country every year.

Sikkim’s Tourism Minister, referring to this development, told the media personnel that the state government has also communicated this decision to the centre.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra withheld this year, as Sikkim closes Nathu La Pass

The Nathu La trade route between India and China reopened in 2006, after a hiatus of more than four decades, i.e., after remaining closed since 1962. Reportedly, the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via the pass resumed a couple of years ago.

As per the Nathu La trade protocol, traders from Sikkim are provided limited access to the Tibet autonomous region, whereas Chinese traders are allowed to access a few kilometres into Indian territory.

Apart from stating that the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra will not happen this year, the minister also added that very soon, they will prepare a proposal and inform the Centre. Also, since China is the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, they will close the pass, which was supposed to open on May 1.

The Sikkim Government is also likely to put a ban on domestic tourists till October. As of now, Sikkim is COVID-free, and was the first state to ban the entry of domestic and foreign tourists and migrant labourers. Further, it also sealed the international borders with Nepal, China, Bhutan, and two of the four border checkpoints with West Bengal.

And although both Nathu La Pass and Kailash Mansarovar Yatra are two chief sources of revenue earners for the state, it has chosen to incur loss by closing the routes to prevent spread of the virus.

Source Article

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