Uncalled for Airfare hits tourism
|| HAMID GANAI
Believe it or not, Srinagar- Jammu is one of the shortest sector of airways in India but costliest one. A 30 minutes air travel costs for Rs.5000/- to Rs.20000/- and airlines companies have free hand to raise the air fare at any time without any reasons.The private airlines are front runners while increasing the air fares and loot is all time high once the tourist season starts or Srinagar-Jammu Highway is closed.Last week i was onway to Jammu to meet my father & brother and luckily managed to get an air ticket as Srinagar-Jammu road was closed due to heavy rains & land slides on highway.
The movement Air-India flight take off from Srinagar International Airport i ask some Delhi bound passengers regarding air fares and i was surprised their air fare was less than half of ours air fare. Some of the Jammu bound passengers have purchased air tickets for Rs.6000/- to Rs 12000/- and i was the fortunate one who got an air ticket at a reasonable price as it was booked by my travel agent quite few days ago in advance. On my return from Jammu to Srinagar some kashmir bound passengers met me at Jammu airport and most of them were few officers with darbar move and known persons.
Every one was charting with each other and asked about the fare hike. As the Highway was closed for more than four days obviously the reason for hike in air fares was justified by air lines. Some of the kashmir bound passengers have paid Rs.15000/- to Rs.17000/-.When we take the boarding in a spice jet flight i saw there were 75% passengers non state subjects and most of them were tourists. I ask some fellow passengers regarding the air fares from their original destinations and story was the same as it is. A tourist passenger from Marashtra came fr om Mumbai told me that he has paid Rs. 4500/ fare to reach Srinagar.
He was surprised and shocked to know that Jammu _Srinagar sector costs Rs.18000/- plus for a 25 minutes journey. The air lines companies are virtually out of control and government is sleeping on the issue over the years. Though it is not a state subject and civil avaitation fall under the authority of union avaitaion ministry Government of India. But they did nothing from past few years to curb the illegal fare hikes which is beyond their control now.
The over charged air fares has not only affected the tourism industry of the state but our economy as well.An air trip from Delhi to Dubai or Jedha or London is sometimes cheaper than Srinagar-Jammu or Delhi.The business & industry community which is related with kashmir handicrafts are worest affected people.If the J&K Government under the dynamic leadership of Ms. Mahbooba Mufti have realy concern which is a growing concern they have take the issue with Govt. of India seriously so that some early measures can be taken to boost the tourism industry as well as states economy. Need of the hour is to control these Air lines companies and to have a check & balance system so that a reasonable air fare can be effectively implemented in letter & spirit for which J&K Government has to think it very seriously.