Exorbitant entry charges at Srinagar Airport irk visitors

Rs 60 per vehicle charged for exceeding 10-minute limit; this has helped to decongest airport: Director

SAQIB MALIK
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 10 2018 1:01AM | Updated Date: Dec 10 2018 1:01AM
Exorbitant entry charges at Srinagar Airport irk visitorsFile Photo

Exorbitant entry charges at Srinagar Airport here has evoked strong resentment among commuters.  

The airport authorities charge Rs 60 per vehicle for exceeding 10 minute time limit of stay in the airport premise. The charges being levied for visiting the airport is a frill introduced earlier this year, but has faced severe criticism.  Most of the commuters said that the distance from drop gate at Srinagar Airport to departure and arrival terminal area is more than distance in airports outside the Valley.

Zahid Ahmad, a commuter who had to drop a friend to the Srinagar Airport recently said “I was in a complete disbelief after I was asked to pay Rs 60 for spending just two extra minutes at the Airport than the stipulated time.” “What is the logic of charging a vehicle Rs 60 if it over-timed the 10 minute limit of driving in and out of the airport? I have travelled to several airports across the world but have not seen this sort of a levy anywhere,” said Ahmad. 

The exorbitant charge of visiting the Srinagar Airport has also become a butt of jokes on the social media. “Am I supposed to be like a racing rally driver and drive at 110 kms per hour speed to touch and go… so that I can save Rs 60 charges of visiting the airport. The other day I actually zoomed past vehicles in speed so that I can make drop and friend and make it back in 10 minutes so that I don’t have to pay Rs 60,” posted a commuter on his Facebook wall recently.

Most commuters who are charged under the new  system of paying for a stay of more than 10 minute say it was unusual that a car number was being noted down by a machine and commuters are informed that they have to be back within 10 minutes— failing which they have to pay the parking fee.

 “You have speed breakers and other cars slowing you down. Then you exchange quick greetings when you see a person after a long time and load baggage. The point is that it is going to take more than ten minutes,” said another commuter. 

“The ten minute time they are giving is just a gimmick to earn quick bucks. There is least possibility that someone might come out within 10 minutes until they drive at a fast speed,” he said

According to various other private and passenger transport drivers visiting the airport, the 10 minute window is a “formality” to justify the free entry tag for which they otherwise would been questioned.

This new system is in place since the operations of the airport have been outsourced to an Ahmadabad based firm, RBA Hospitality And Hotels Private Limited. Majority of the staff of the company is also from outside the state.

Apex industry body Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry has several times raised the issue of exorbitant entry charges at the Srinagar Airport.  

KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq, said the issue of charges for driving in and out of the airport premises was also raised during the Airport Advisory Committee meeting held last month. However, Ashiq, who is a member of the AAC said “Ironically, Airport authorities are turning a blind eye to the burden common people are facing in form of exorbitant entry charges.  We have raised this issue but nothing has been done. Our suggestion was that visiting the airport be made free for at least for an hour, but it has not been acknowledged so far,” Ashiq said.   

Director Srinagar Airport Akash Deep Mathur said earlier the area outside airport terminal used to witness excessive traffic jams causing inconvenience to commuters. 

He said the new system has "de-congested" the airport Mathur said all the “stake-holders” have been taken into confidence for introducing the payment  system for vehicles. “It has helped a lot to decongest the airport area and I don’t think it should be a problem for people wanting to wait at the airport for more than 10 minutes,” he said.  

To mention, Srinagar airport is under direct operational control of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which controls its air traffic and landing strip and also the facilities of fire-fighting and crash activities, apart from the airspace. The terminal building, where the passengers check-in and check-out, and the apron area, where an aircraft is parked, are however controlled by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). 

The airport, surrounded by dozens of villages and fruit orchards, is situated at a distance of 10 km from Lal Chowk, the city center of Srinagar and is spread over more than 65 acres of land.

x
This site uses cookies to deliver our services and to show you relevant news and ads. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service.That's Fine