Unilateral airfare hike discrimination, HR violation: SHRC

Srinagar: The J&K State Human Rights Commission on Thursday sought a report from Directorate General Civil Aviation New Delhi as well as airline companies operating in Jammu and Kashmir over unilateral hike in airfare, holding it prima-facie case of “discrimination regarding equality and violation of human rights.”
Hearing a complaint filed by an NGO, J&K Peoples Forum, a bench headed by acting chairman of the Commission Rafiq Fida asked the DGCA and the companies including Indigo, Spice-jet, Air India, Go-Air, Jet Airways to submit report by May 15.
In the compliant, General Secretary of the NGO, M M Shuja, has stated that tourism in Kashmir Valley has been adversely affected by the “unbridled hike” in the airfare.
“The middle class and lower class families are the main source of tourism but the sudden hike in airfare has considerably narrowed the flow of tourists to Kashmir valley in the month of March,” the complainant said.
The hike, he said, has rendered the air travel facility impossible for patients, student community and lower business class.
“During rainy seasons the road connectivity of the Valley remains cut off with the rest of world and air travel is the only means of transport available to the people of Kashmir. The air operator companies are taking undue advantage of the situation and unilaterally hike fares, which in general violates the rights of human beings in Kashmir.”
Compared to the other destinations, he said, the hike for travel to Kashmir is totally unfair and by all standards aimed to scuttle the flow of tourists to the Valley and divert them to other destinations.
The unbridled hike, he said, is aimed to deprive people from livelihood, which adversely affected their standard of life and basic amenities required for life.
“The tourism is backbone of state economy. By the act of these airlines, the life in Kashmir is likely to get affected by such discriminatory and unjust hike in the airfare.”
After going through the complaint, the bench, also comprising another member Amalok Singh observed that it “prima-facie discloses a case of discrimination regarding equality and violation of human rights.”
“Let, in the first instance, reports be sought from Director Civil Aviation Safder-Jung, Station Airport New Delhi and all in-charges of Airline Companies operating in J&K Sector,” the Commission said and posted the case for further consideration on May 15.