Gangtok: Uttarey, the gateway for Singalila and Phoktey Dara treks, is now open for tourists as the local panchayats and stakeholders of Maneybong-Uttarey GPU have withdrawn their earlier ban.
A coordination meeting held on October 12 at Uttarey saw the panchayats and tourism stakeholders cancelling their ban and opening the destination for tourists.
Uttarey is about 37 km away from Geyzing, the district headquarters of West Sikkim. The local panchayats had on October 1 notified restriction on entry of tourists in Uttarey as the State government went ahead with tourism reopening from October 10.
Speaking to media, local tourism stakeholder SB Subba informed that Uttarey is open for tourists for trekking and tour. Subba is a pioneer of rural tourism who introduced trekking routes from Uttarey.
“Earlier, our gram panchayat decided to keep the area closed for tourists due to fear of coronavirus. After receiving the SOPs and guidelines from the Tourism department, our gram panchayat held a meeting with local tourism stakeholders, police and medical officers. At the meeting, we decided to open up for tourism,” said Subba.
Almost 90 per cent of local populace are dependent in tourism sector and farming, it was informed. Two local groups have already gone for Phoktey Dara trek after announcement of tourism reopening and more than five groups have booked for the trek, informed Subba.
Uttarey is only 10 km away from Chewabhanjyang, the Indo-Nepal border and is popular for trekking. One can reach Maneybhanjyang in Darjeeling from Uttarey via Singalila trek.
Local travel agent Purusotham Pradhan said: “I have been working as a tour and trek operator for last 15 years. This year, our business suffered a lot. The tourism reopening from the State government has given us hope to restart and recover the losses. We are ready to organise trekking from Uttarey.”