Expressing concern over steep rise in airfares on J&K sector, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali, has sought the intervention of the concerned authorities in the Government of India to check the arbitrary hike in airfares.
In continuation to his earlier communication dated June 2, 2016, Zulfkar Ali has again approached Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Union Minister for Civil Aviation, vide number PS/HM/FCSCA/2017/130 dated 17-01-2017 wherein he has expressed grave concern over the steep hike in air fares on Srinagar-Jammu, Srinagar-Delhi, Srinagar-Mumbai, Jammu-Delhi routes. The Minister requested Union Government to pass on directions to concerned airlines to keep the air fare reasonable on these sectors.
The Minister brought into the notice of Union Minister that the airfares for these destinations are irrationally exorbitant particularly during the winter season when the road connectivity to the Valley gets restricted due to inclement weather and the only option left with the passengers is to travel by air.
He said the students who have to move out of Kashmir Valley in pursuit of education and the desperate patients who are being referred by doctors outside the State for treatment are especially hit by the steep rise in airfares.
The Minister further brought into the notice of Union Minister that the issue of monopolistic trade practices adopted by various airlines and travel agencies operating in the State is aggravating the situation which subjects the travellers to immense hardships.
He said the President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has expressed his concern over the authoritarian attitude of the airlines operating on the Srinagar route for effecting steep rise of airfares especially during winter and have approached Government of Jammu & Kashmir for help.
Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali said the issue of steep rise in airfares from Srinagar to any part of the country especially Srinagar-Jammu, Srinagar-Delhi, Srinagar-Mumbai sectors during winter was also discussed in a meeting of the J&K State Consumer Protection Council wherein all the members of the Council unanimously expressed their serious concern over the issue by comparing it to clear instance of jeopardizing state consumer rights. He added that these members approached the Government to take up the matter again with the concerned Union Ministry.
The Minister urged the Union Minister to intervene in the matter and advise the concerned officers in the Ministry of Civil Aviation and airlines operating from Srinagar and Jammu to have the airfares regulated at reasonable level.