PIL seeks HC intervention in sky-high airfares to Kashmir

PIL seeks HC intervention in sky-high airfares to Kashmir
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SRINAGAR: A fresh public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed before Jammu and Kashmir High court for seeking intervention of the Court with regard to unfair and irrational hike in airfare from Jammu to Srinagar, Delhi to Srinagar and Srinagar to Delhi and Jammu.
The petition was filed by People’s forum,a non-governmental organization through their counsel Shafkat Nazir against Union of India, through Secretary to Govt. of India, Ministry of Civil Aviation, New Delhi, Director General Civil Aviation, Safder Jung, New Delhi, Chairman, Competition Commission of India, New Delhi, State of J&K, through Principal Secretary to Govt, Department of Civil Aviation, Civil Secretariat Srinagar/ Jammu.
The litigation states that the Srinagar-Jammu Highway is the only road link connecting Kashmir valley with rest of India. However, due to snow fall and rain and the consequent landslides as also expansion work, the highway often remains closed thereby stranding the people at Jammu or Srinagar.
“Taking undue advantage of such situation the airline companies resort to steep and unreasonable hike in airfare. The airfare from Delhi to Dubai, Delhi to Singapore and Delhi to other destinations is far less than what is charged for New Delhi to Srinagar during peak tourist seasons and bad weather conditions,” the petition reads.
Pointing to a recent episode, the petition states that recently the airfare from New Delhi to Srinagar remained at Rs. 14,000/- to Rs. 30,000/ per passenger. “By all standards this is not only unreasonable but unjustified as well keeping in view the short distance between New Delhi and Srinagar. Same is not only taking toll at general people but the tourists and civil servants as well who frequently require to travel between the two capital cities of state and to Delhi in connection with official work thereby cause huge loss to the state exchequer as well, ” the petition rues.
The petition further states that concerned authorities have a constitutional and statutory duty to keep an eye on the airline companies and regulate the airfare but they have turned blind eye towards the grievances of people and concerned authorities are allowing the airline companies to make merry despite having knowledge about such loot and in the process the people in general are left in lurch.
The petitioner prayed that the authorities be directed to disclose the mechanism of fixation of airfare in force in the country, the criteria of any hike in airfare and ways and means to prevent any un-reasonable and unfair hike in the airfare from Srinagar to outside destinations in India and from outside destinations in India to Srinagar.
Also it was submitted to court that authorities be commanded not to hike airfare in future unilaterally and unreasonably.