SRINAGAR: In a virtual snub to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has ruled out operation of international flights from Srinagar airport till “increase in market potential”.
“As and when there is increase in market potential and there is a need to develop the routes, my ministry will consider developing Srinagar as an international destination for giving impetus to the growth of business, industry and tourism in Jammu and Kashmir,” reads a response by P. Ashok Gajapathi Raju on November 24 last year to the second letter on the subject by the Chief Ministry Mehbooba Mufti.
The details were revealed by the civil aviation ministry in response to an RTI reply filed by a social activist, M M Shuja.
In the letter sent on 9 October last year, Mehbooba had reiterated her request to the minister on behalf of the state government for operation of international flight from the Srinagar airport.
“The proposal would give much needed impetus to tourism and trade and unlock gainful opportunities for the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are passing through a difficult phase,” Mehbooba had said, emphasizing that it would also meet the “outstanding demand” of the people of J&K particularly of business and industry, of integrating of economic activities with the rest of the world for the overall growth of the state’s economy.
“In particular, the proposal when accepted, shall provide a significant window for foreign tourists to experience our centuries old culture, heritage, handicrafts, monuments and pristine picturesque tourist locations and provide much needed opportunity to the State Government to showcase its rich cultural heritage and tradition,” Mehbooba had said in replica to her first letter to the minister on July 9 when Kashmir Valley was in the middle of uprising following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani. Nearly eighty people were killed and hundreds others injured, most of them with unprecedented use of pellets, during the uprising.
The Chief Minister had informed the legislative assembly that 1059 persons were arrested, 318 under Public Safety Act.
She also said that 2684 FIRs have been registered during the uprising upto December 31 last year.