Hails governor’s warning over exploitation of flyers
SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Tuesday welcomed the concern expressed by Governor J&K Satya Pal Malik and subsequent action taken by Advisor to the Governor, Khurshid Ganai over the exploitation of air-passengers for the Srinagar sector.
Stating that the chamber had been raising this “critical” issue since long and had also given several suggestions to the government in this regard, Senior Vice President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nasir Hamid Khan hoped that effective action would now be taken.
“It appeared that vested interests were indulging in blatant opportunism and exploitation of helpless travellers,” the KCCI vice president said, adding that the current policy was discriminatory in nature with one passenger paying two thousand and another paying thirty thousand for a journey of 300 to 700 kilometres, a statement issued here read.
“With the road link to Kashmir being out of commission for most of the winter months, the only alternative mode of transport for the entire population had become a cash-cow for vested interests,” Khan alleged and stated that this was not only a tourism issue but was a grave public interest issue in which “a majority of the population was being exploited and held hostage”.
“The consequences were serious for patients and their families who have to pay more for air travel than the cost of the medical treatment. Students and their families suffered equally,” he further said, adding that the tourism sector becomes out of bounds with entire packages to major tourist destinations costing less than the air travel cost to Kashmir.
“With the schools and colleges scheduled to open in March and a large number of members of the general public travelling back after the winter months, heavy traffic is expected in February,” the statement read.
While appreciating the warning issued by the governor, the chamber urged more stringent measures to effectively tackle the menace.
The KCCI has also reiterated the suggestions made earlier that include: invoking of the Essential Services Act and bringing air travel under its purview, purchasing block tickets by the state government and fix quota for medical emergencies, students and the private sector including tourism, substantial increase in the number of flights to this sector, initiating an enquiry into the alleged black marketing of tickets and identifying the persons/organisations benefiting from this exploitation, overhauling of entry procedure at the Srinagar airport to make it less harrowing and taking effective measures for opening of all available road links to Srinagar round the clock, the statement added.