IMPHAL/AIZAWL, Jan 8 (IANS) - The northeastern states have welcomed the centre's decision to do away with the Protected Area Permit (PAP), a mandatory permit for foreigners to visit the region.
The Union government had recently excluded Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland from the PAP regime for a period of one year.
However, the regulation is in place for Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China.
�The decision is very positive. It will help foreign nationals, specially tourists, to visit here,� Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said in a statement in Aizawl Saturday.
Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh also welcomed the decision to withdraw the PAP from his state.
�A large number of tourists have been visiting Manipur every year with the PAP. The number will now increase,� Singh told reporters in Imphal Saturday.
�However, all foreigners visiting Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland will have to register themselves with the Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO) of the district they want to visit within 24 hours of their arrival,� a Press Information Bureau (PIB) release said.
According to a Mizoram official, the citizens of some specified countries, including Pakistan and China, will continue to require prior approval of the union Ministry of Home Affairs before their visit to the northeastern states.
Various NGOs have also hailed the decision.
On an average, 50,000 foreign tourists visit the eight north-eastern states every year.