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Hold Airlines Accountable

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Kashmir visit, Governor Satya Pal Malik lashed out at airline companies for the increasing price of air tickets during winters. The Governor in his speech also appealed Modi to rein-in airline companies, who exploit Kashmiris during winters. His move was hailed by a cross-section of people in Kashmir, who are the worst suffers of this menace.

While in other parts of India, the price in petroleum determines the cost of air ticket, but in Kashmir, the rise and fall of air tickets is subject to weather conditions.

Airline companies are making the most of the ongoing bad weather condition in Kashmir by charging exorbitant airfare three to four times more than the actual prices from the flyers.

Governor rightly said that “What would be more injustice than this? How tourism will increase (in the state)? How will the state progress?” he asked.

Malik said there was a need to make the airlines understand and the fares need to be reduced.

After governor, Advisor Khurshid A Ganai also held detailed discussions with managers of various Airlines operating from Srinagar about the exorbitant airfare charged from and to Srinagar.

He asked all the Airlines to immediately stop selling the tickets in bulk to intermediaries who were reportedly misusing this facility and indulging in the resale of tickets at an exorbitant price to the intending passengers.

The Advisor also directed the Airline managers to take up the matter with their respective sales departments to comply with this direction and cap the air ticket prices at reasonable levels.

The Advisor informed the managers of Airlines that the practice of charging exorbitant prices in the event of road closure and cancellation of flights due to inclement weather was sheer exploitation of consumers which tantamounts to a violation of relevant laws meant for protection of the consumers and warned the airlines of legal action in the matter.

Though higher-ups in the administration have raised the concern, but it is highly shameful on the part of airline operators that they misuse the weather conditions in Kashmir to their advantage without caring about the degree of burden and miseries it brings to the local residents.

In normal days, the air fare between Jammu and Srinagar rolls between Rs.3000 and Rs.3500.

But it goes up four to six times once the Jammu-Srinagar highway gets blocked due to bad weather. It is cheaper to travel to some foreign countries than from Jammu to Srinagar.

It is all the more necessary for making these airline operators answerable. The state government should take up the matter with civil aviation ministry and other authorities who have control over these companies to fix cap on air fare.

Though Governor S P Malik raised this issue with PM, but now it is responsibility to take up the matter with relevant people to get the menace of fare-hike under check.