Copy the Malaysian model

Copy the Malaysian model
Representational pic

It has been observed that whenever the surface link of the valley snaps, the airlines immediately hike their fares. According to recent information the fares from Srinagar to Delhi and vice versa had gone up to Rs. 40,000 per seat or even more. It is cheaper to fly to any foreign destination on a return trip than to Kashmir. Apart from discouraging tourists from visiting Kashmir these unreasonable hikes are a punishment to local people going out for even medical treatment. Apart from being unethical, it is the worst kind of black marketing being indulged in by various airlines quite a few of whom are supposed to be members of the IATA (International Air Transport Association)! The State Governor has pointed out this malpractice of Airlines to the Prime Minister and requested him for intervention. Under IATA regulations the airfares are determined by the airlines depending upon the interplay of the market forces. These are not fixed by the government. However, there should be some sort of reasonability in determining these fares at various times. Normally, these should not be more than the normal range fixed by various airlines and the fares published by them. But it has not been possible worldwide to control the airfares. There is sometimes a very unhealthy competition among airlines in offering cheap fares. Often the fares go up at festive times. In fact, the Malaysians too have been facing the problem of sky rocketing fares especially at festive times. They had set up a commission to recommend ceiling of airfares for domestic flights in 2018. Well, Government of India could also take a similar step for capping the runaway fares which would be very much benefiting the consumers. The ideal would be to copy the Malaysian model. In 2015, the Ministry of Civil Aviation through DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) had set up a Tariff Monitoring Unit in 2010 that monitors airfares on certain routes selected on random basis to ensure that the airlines do not charge airfares outside the range declared by them. Something similar could be done in case of J & K. Now that the request has been officially conveyed to the Prime Minister by the State Governor, there should be no difficulty in asking the Ministry of Civil Aviation to take immediate action to control the unreasonably high runaway fares on J & K air routes especially during the closure of the National Highway. The State Government needs to follow up the matter at the appropriate level.

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