The question of unreasonable hike in airfares to Srinagar from various destinations during the closure of the National Highway had been taken up by the local stakeholders with the highest authorities. The State Governor had also pleaded with the Prime Minister for resolving this problem.
There was a commitment at the Prime Minister’s level that the matter would be looked into and sorted out. A news item to the effect that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had decided to step in to prevent these hikes not only in Kashmir but other areas especially during festival seasons had appeared recently. They had declared to increase capacity on such routes to offset the sudden fare hike.
However, it is not known whether the issue had been resolved? At the present moment the old practice of hiking the fares to a very unreasonable extent during road closure still continues. The fares sometimes virtually go through the roof! Apart from the fact that the tourism industry is getting adversely affected, the local people are getting fleeced for their normal travel.
The air travel is a facility used by people to save time or sometimes in emergency situations especially of medical nature. Tourism activity is welcome by all as it contributes to the economy especially by providing employment during the tourist season. There is no doubt that the airlines too have faced some hard times especially due to hike in aviation turbine fuel.
However, a new competition among these has been lately assuming ugly proportions. Either they offer dirt cheap fares or they hike these to unreasonable limits. Even safety has been given a go by sometimes. The tickets on Delhi-Srinagar sector are going beyond rupees twenty thousand one way on some days.
In fact, some of the people planning to travel to Kashmir from abroad have informed that they are getting cheaper business class fares from various destinations abroad to Delhi than the fares being offered on Delhi-Srinagar sector. It is imperative that the problem is sorted out at the highest level to cap the airfares at a reasonable limit. The sooner it is done, better it would be in view of the start of the tourist season.