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A greater Himalayan trek route on cards

By Staff
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Gangtok, Apr 20: A greater Himalayan Trekking route, passing through the Himalayan ranges in Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim, is on the cards.

Sikkim Tourism Minister R B Subba said here today, ''Two Netherland based organisations will develop the route in two months.'' ICIMOD, a trek development agency and SNV, a Netherland based NGO had recently approached the state government for permission to survey and prepare a feasibility report before developing the route.

Mr Subba said, ''The two organisations are now developing the trek route in the Himalayan range in Nepal and Bhutan and sought the permission of the state government to map the route in Sikkim.

According to the proposal, the trekking route would start from Uttaray in West Sikkim.

Meanwhile, Mr Subba said the government was also seriously considering the demands of the Travel Agents Association of Sikkim to approve an alternative trek route after the Singalila trek route was closed by the central government around two years back.

The Union government had banned the trek route due to security reasons following the Maoist problem in Nepal.

Meanwhile, Mr Subba said Japan had also shown interest to provide financial and technical support to develop the infrastructure of the Buddhist circuits. A senior official of the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) had recently visited the state and discussed the issue with the minister.

They had also visited some monasteries and the proposed construction site of the airport at Paykong.

The Minister said the Union government had provided Rs 2 crore for the development of Buddhist circuits last year. The fund had been utilised for renovation of monasteries and creating accommodation facilities for the tourists.

Mr Subba said JBIC had also shown interest to provide financial assistance in eco-friendly pollution-free projects like cable cars in the state which would generate employment.

UNI

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