By Firdous Hassan
Srinagar, Jun 02: The government sees increasing the number of flight to Kashmir as the only solution to frequent hike in airfare.
The airfare from various destinations to Kashmir has been hiked by airliners, unnerving the tourism players at the onset of summer.
Director Tourism Department, Mahmood Ahmad Shah, said the state government has been regularly seeking a check on the airfare to the valley.
“We have taken up this issue with the Ministry for Civilian Aviation earlier as well. I think they need to add flights to the Srinagar Airport. That can be the only permanent solution,” he said.
Shah said that only 28 flights operate from the airport.
The worst sufferers, he said, were the “last-minute travellers, including tourists”.
“Students, patients and even tourists fall in this category. The night flights will soon take off from the airport. Let us hope it helps in bringing down the prices of tickets,” he said.
Currently, the airfare on Srinagar-New Delhi route has gone up to Rs10,000-13,000 compared to the normal Rs 5,000- 7,000.
Similarly, the airfare from other destination like Mumbai and Chennai, from where the rush of tourists remains much higher in summers, has also gone sky high.
The airfare from Chennai to Srinagar ranges from Rs13,000 to 27,000.
For Mumbai, an air-ticket costs Rs 12,000 to 20,000.
The state government’s plea to keep runaway airfare hikes during peak tourist seasons in check has been rebuffed by the central government recently, which has said that tariffs were subject to the logic of supply and demand.
Earlier, in 2014, the State Human Rights Commission took a note of the repeated airfare hikes and termed it a violation of people’s human rights and right to equality.
Upcoming snow spell: Avalanche warning issued for Kashmir, Ladakh districts
Srinagar, Jan 19: Kashmir areas experienced fresh snowfall on Saturday, with the weather office forecasting more in store for the next three days.
“A western disturbance (WD) is presently active over the state under whose influence moderate to heavy snowfall is likely to occur in the valley till January 23 after which the intensity of the WD will start decreasing,” a Met Department official said here.
District administrations have set up helplines to help prevent any untoward incident due to the heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan Saturday issued fresh avalanche warning for nine avalanche prone districts of Kashmir division.
The warning has been issued for the avalanche-prone areas of district Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Kargil and Leh.
As per the hand out, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir has directed the Deputy Commissioners of all these districts to advise the people living in avalanche prone areas not to venture out to avoid the loss of lives.
The Div Com also directed the concerned DC’s to take all the precautionary measures and to keep the SDRF, Police and Para-medical staff with ambulances in readiness to avert any untoward incident.
While the nightlong cloud cover increased minimum temperatures throughout the valley on Saturday, the maximum temperatures are expected to drop further, the weather official said.
Srinagar recorded minus 2.0 degrees Celsius, Pahalgam minus 4.4 and Gulmarg minus 7.0 as the minimum temperatures.
Leh town had minus 9.2 degrees Celsius and Kargil minus 18.9 as the night’s lowest temperature.
Jammu city recorded 8.3 degrees Celsius, Katra 9.1, Batote 3.9, Bannihal 2.3 and Bhaderwah 1.3 as the minimum temperatures.
UN clearly did its job: Guterres on Kashmir human rights report
United Nations: United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday hoped that India and Pakistan will engage in a “meaningful dialogue” to resolve their issues.
The UN chief also said he has been offering his “good offices in relation to the dialogue between the two countries that, until now, had no conditions of success.”
Guterres was speaking to reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.
“I hope that the importance of both India and Pakistan is such in international affairs, I hope that the two countries will be able to engage in a meaningful dialogue,” he said.
The UN chief was responding to a question on his repeated urging of dialogue between the two South Asian neighbours.
In relation to the human rights situation, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has produced recently a very detailed report. So, the UN has clearly done its job in that regard, Guterres said to a question by a Pakistan journalist on the situation in Kashmir.
Day after grenade attack, forces conduct search op in Lal Chowk
Srinagar: A joint search operation was launched by the forces and police in the commercial Hub Lal Chowk area of Srinagar on Saturday.
The search came a day after the grenade attack took place in the locality, which left a vehicle and windowpanes of some shops damaged.
Witnesses said that a large contingent of police and paramilitary troopers were deployed near the Clock Tower here while the frisking was also intensified.
They said that drones too were used during the operation.
However, a top police official said that it was a routine exercise ahead of upcoming Republic Day.