China mulls int’l airport, easy visa for Mansarovar devotees from Tibet

China mulls int’l airport, easy visa for Mansarovar devotees from Tibet

Agency News

New Delhi, Apr 2 : The Chinese authorities on Tuesday said China was mulling to open an international airport soon from where chartered flights could operate along with easing visa grant for facilitating Kailash mansarovar devotees, mainly from Tibet.
The chinese embassy officials disclosed this at a meet on Tuesday at the Chinese consulate in the capital. The meet with the Tibetan pilgrims was organised by CII and the Chinese embassy. Officials of External Affairs ministry of China and Senior officials of Tibetan administration were also present.

The Chinese official, Le Beizeiyan while taking suggestions and giving replies, was of the view that "Mansoravar Pilgrimage" is a great platform of increasing bonhomie between the populace of Tibet and China. The Sino official said though some suggestions of the devotees could be considered about improving the yatra but all could not be put into practice. Lack of oxygen in this area makes it difficult to operate and four months in the year from May to September only are doable.

Availability of people during this period is also a challenge. After deliberations between Indian and Chinese representatives, Nathu La pass has been thrown open which has led to augmentation of people's arrival in the region. Exponential development of the Mansarovar infrastructure has also taken place. He apprised that an international airport is on the cards on the recommendations of the travellers of Mansarovar by the Chinese central government for their easy travel. He repeated that visa procurement too will be simplified. Further, Kunshu airport which is 200 kms from Mansarovar will be developed as an international airport for the devotees, as proposed. He further revealed that facilities like accommodation, restaurant, cafetaria among others will be provided though he refused to divulge details about the timeline of its launch.

Notably, Indian devotees can reach Mansarovar via Uttarakhand's traditional Lipulekh route though Nathu La pass too can be taken on motorcycle to reach the abode of Shiva on earth. But with Kunshu airport, an alternate third easy route will be available to Indians.

On the controversy regarding taking a dip in the holy Mansarovar riverine, the Chinese official noted that Kailash mountain and Mansarovar are environmentally fragile and Chinese government has to maintain their "ecosystem" at all costs. It falls upon the devotees too maintain their sanctity and for this challenge they would have to adhere to the government's ordinances. As far as bathing is concerned, China does not want to see "crisis" emerging from the holy yatra though he promised that the matter is subjudice.

The Tibetan official apprised the gathering about the investment made in the last few years to make Mansoravar yatra "attractive" and "easy" for the devotees who come once a year and assured of positive steps to make it memorable. The pilgrims at the meet mainly asked for visa free travel, robust sanitation facilities and Indian kitchen for devotees from India. (UNI)