New Delhi, Feb 14: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday attended a high level meet at the office of Union Minister of Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu at New Delhi and asked for his intervention in resolving crisis of exorbitant fares being charged by airlines on Delhi-Srinagar-Delhi- Ladakh sector.
Farooq who represents the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency underscored the need to impress upon airlines to bring down the rising air fares.
Addressing the meet, he said, “Each time the Srinagar–Jammu highway is shut due to landslides or bad weather, the air fares rises exorbitantly, making travel impossible for the people. The patients, student community, traders and stranded passengers are the one who have to suffer the brunt.”
“Injustice is being done to the people of Kashmir in the name of airfares. How will the tourism sector flourish here and how will the state progress?” he asked.
Farooq apprised the Union Minister about the fact that a person travelling from Mumbai to Chennai has to pay Rs 6,000 to Rs 8,000 and from Delhi to Srinagar the fare charges soar up to a whooping Rs 20,000 for one way travel.
“One can have a return travel to Dubai in Rs 22,000. It seems that the airlines, through their menacing marketing plans are ensuring themselves bountiful windfalls specifically during the bad weather conditions and National highway obstructions,” he said adding, “People in the valley including Ladakh are stuck between devil and the deep sea.”
Farooq said that the airlines are availing the opportunity to lay their hands on the all including students, patients, traders. “Winter tourism which remains one of the mainstays of Kashmir’s economy has been severely affected by sharp increase in the air fare. The predatory approach of the airlines has not just unleashed miseries on our people but has unfortunately halted the tourist influx to Kashmir, thus hitting the economy of Kashmir with double edged sword,” he said.
“If the situation continues to persist it will slowly and steadily destroy the economy of valley,” he told the meeting.
The meet was attended by the office bearers of the union civil aviation ministry and the representatives of various airlines.
The party president demanded air services to the far-flung areas of Kashmir including Chenab valley and PirPanchal region. He demanded helicopter services to the snow bound areas of Machil, Gurez, and Kargil.
Meanwhile former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (S) President Mr. HD DeveGowda called on Dr Farooq Abdullah at his residence in New Delhi. The leaders held discussions on a wide range of issues concerning the country.
Dr Farooq while interacting with the former Prime Minister impressed upon the need to forge unity to trounce the communal forces as are inimical to the secular visage of India.