Lauren, an American tourist was unfazed by panicky atmosphere in Kashmir. She had plans to explore beautiful locales of Valley but her dream visit had to be cut short when during her visit to Dal Lake, she was asked to cut short her stay.
Panicked, she went back to hotel where she was putting up and decided to cut short her stay in Kashmir. “I was not aware about any advisory until police personnel informed me. Though, it was a dream visit for me but situation I feel is not conducive so better to leave,” she said while boarding a cab near Tourist Reception Centre at Dalgate.
Lauren was not the lone traveler; there were tourists along with families who were fuming due to fact that their holiday had to be curtailed.
The problem now is not only tourists have to curtail their visit period, but for returning home tourists are made to pay exorbitant airfares.
“Till yesterday airfare from Srinagar to Delhi was Rs 4000 which has now gone upto Rs 18000 per passenger, which is unjustified and open loot as we are being evacuated due to government advisory,” said another tourist, Rajesh Suroop who said that if he would travel by air he would have to shell Rs 90,000 for five family members.
Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Hoteliers Club, Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya said that the tourists have started fleeing Kashmir after government order asking yatris and tourists to cut short their visit.
“There are more than 7 lakh people directly or indirectly affiliated with the tourism sector. Therefore we would like to urge the government to take such steps which would ensure that our sector doesn’t suffer heavy losses,” he said.
According to official handout of AAI, total 6126 passengers reported at Srinagar International Airport today for travelling back out of Valley.
“Out of this total 5829 passengers were traveled by 32 scheduled airlines. Remaining 387 Passengers were accommodated in 04 no of IAF Aircraft and flown to various destinations like Jammu, Pathankote, Delhi etc. All the possible supports has been extended at the airport by ensuring safety and security of the passengers. All passengers were flown out of valley in a planned and systematic manner. The entire operation was conducted smoothly with close coordination with IAF, J&K Police, CRPF, BSF, State Authorities all airlines and AAI personnel’s,” reads the official handout.
Besides tourism sector, the construction and developmental sector which provides employment to thousands of people too has been hit by the government order.