GoI must step in to stop unnatural air fares for Kashmir: PDP

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‘Airlines must not act as spoilsport during a promising tourist season’

SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday asked both the state government and the government of India (GoI) to take immediate measures for addressing the sky rocketing air fares in Kashmir during peak tourist season.
In a statement issued here, PDP general secretary Mansoor Hussain Sohrawardy said the people of Kashmir Valley in general and those associated with the tourism sector in particular are hopeful that the GoI government will address the concerns already expressed by the state chief minister Mehbooba Mufti over the spike in the air fares for Srinagar.
He said the immense hike in air fare has made it extremely difficult and unaffordable for the people from other cities who want to visit the picturesque valley. “The people of Kashmir are hopeful that the letter written by the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister to Civil Aviation Ministry will get a positive response so that the state which now is subtly moving towards stability could witness a promising tourist inflow this year and in future.”
The issue merits concern as many tour operators in the valley have already raised the alarm, he said adding that due to huge increase in air fare, tourists from other states are being forced to cancel their visit to the valley. “This will prove detrimental to our economy and will affect the livelihood of about 20 lakh people in Valley who are directly and indirectly dependent upon tourism.”
The PDP general secretary maintained that the increase in the tourist arrivals in Kashmir has come as a ray of home for the people of the state and when things have begun to move towards the betterment, the airlines must not act as a spoilsport in the process. “20 percent of the state’s 12.5 million people directly or indirectly depend on tourism for their livelihoods. We have to take their plight into account and aviation ministry has to take measures to ensure that the sky rocketing and unnatural airfares do not hit the livelihood of the people of the state.”
Furthermore, the PDP general secretary said the orders issued by the Union Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu for scrapping the mandatory baggage identification at the airports in the state is worth hailing as it has lessened people’s inconvenience to a large extent. “We appeal the central government to address the concern of the increase in air fares for Srinagar bound flights as same would make the people reluctant to explore Kashmir and its mesmerising beauty.”