Travelling to Singapore cheaper than Srinagar

Air ticket from Jammu to Srinagar costs 24K per person

Jammu, Feb 22:At a time when the government claims to have been making serious efforts to connect Jammu and Kashmir, airlines are out to plunder the people of both the regions with flying to Singapore emerging as a cheaper deal than flying to Srinagar from Jammu.

As per the rates available on internet, the airfare from Jammu to Srinagar for February 22 is costing a whopping Rs 24,577 per passenger. On the other hand, if one wants to fly to Singapore from India, the airfare is Rs 18,000- six thousand less than that of the Srinagar.

Such open plunder is leaving the common masses wretched, perturbed and deeply annoyed. According to them, the government’s non- interference into such a violation of norms is hitting the common masses hard. “The weather is inclement in winter and this is the reason that in order to take undue benefit of the highway closure, the airlines skyrocket the airfares. Why is the government not doing anything about it?,” asked a Jammu based anxious passenger. According to him, the air distance from Jammu to Srinagar is just 149 Kms and charging exorbitantly is unnatural and unethical.

Another passenger says the dilapidated condition of Jammu- Srinagar national highway is proving a blessing in disguise for the airlines who make huge profits from common people whenever the highway shuts.

“The same situation emerges in December when people from Kashmir travel to Jammu and when it is time to return to Kashmir as winter nears to its end, the airfares witness an unprecedented surge,” says a passenger.

The Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police summoned on February 11 the Sales Managers and other officials of all the Airliners operating out of Srinagar Airport for selling tickets on Srinagar sector at exorbitant rates. The Crime Branch, as per the reports, registered cases against ticketing agents and airlines operating in J&K under Section 420, 468, 471, 409 r/w and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, covering cheating.

As per the DGCA norms, the travel agents have to give the names of the group travellers in 7 days in advance and most of the group travellers are related. But they were selling group tickets a couple of days before the travel date at exorbitant rates and airlines helping them in blocking these tickets. As per the media reports that came to fore last week, the airlines’ staff was helping them in such sales for which they were getting their share.

Last year, government asked airlines to devise ways so that airfares do not skyrocket during the peak-demand season or as and when Kashmir’s road links to other parts of the world are blocked.

“You are requested to implement instructions issued by the advisor in letter and spirit with immediate effect in the interest of the general public and tourists in particular,” reads a letter from the directorate of tourism, Kashmir, to various airlines.