Srinagar, Feb 8: Jammu and Kashmir Association of Haj and Umrah Services (JKAHUS) on Friday asked the private airlines to arrange additional flights for the Umrah pilgrims, stranded at Delhi airport for the last three days.
Staging protest at Press Enclave, its members said that no effort is being made by them to bring the pilgrims to Srinagar.
“We have been asking the airlines to look into the issue, bring the pilgrims as soon as air traffic resumes but their response is not satisfactory,”said senior vice president, Parvaiz Ahmad Bhat.
They said that they have been themselves managing the food and accommodation of the pilgrims. “We are managing all the facilities. The airlines have left them to God’s mercy. They are not listening a word neither from us nor from them, “said a travel operator, Bashir Ahmad.
“How long can we bear the expenses of almost 750 pilgrims. It is expensive to meet their needs. The airlines should arrange additional flights at an earliest, “he said.
Expressing concern over the stance taken by the private airlines, they said that they have been earning huge money from them.
“They are telling them to take the money back, arrange alternative of their own. We mainly send the pilgrims through private airlines. We have been providing, business worth crores to them. It is their responsibility to take care of the pilgrims, they should not get away from their responsibilities,”said another travel operator, Shabir Mir.
With cancellation of flights due to snowfall on Thursday, thousands of Kashmiri pilgrims who returned from Umrah from Saudi Arab are stranded at the IGI Airport in New Delhi.
Mohammad Amin Wani, one of the stranded Umrah pilgrims, told over phone that they are still stranded at the airport terminal after arriving from Jeddah airport yesterday.
“However, today we are stranded and struggling to reach home. Authorities at the airport and Air India operator have made our life plightful here. We appeal to the state government to fly us to Srinagar airport,” he said.
He said the number of Umrah pilgrims stranded at the airport has reached in thousands as more flights arrived since yesterday.
“Old aged persons, children and women are among the stranded passengers since 6 am at Gate no 29A, 29B, 30A and 30B. Air India has not provided us any refreshment since morning,” he said, adding the authorities should intervene to provide travel arrangements for them today.
180 stranded pilgrims airlifted to Srinagar: Govt
JAMMU, FEB 08: State Government is making all efforts in facilitating the passengers stuck at various places due to closure of National Highway as well as cancellation of flights. The current spell of snow, rain and inclement weather in the state has also disrupted road as well as air services resulting in people getting stranded at various locations.
Similarly, hundreds of Kashmiri pilgrims after performing Umrah at Saudi Arabia reached New Delhi but could not travel further because of cancellation of flights to Srinagar.
Taking cognizance of the matter, Governor Satya Pal Malik directed the administration for making alternate travel arrangements for all such people stranded at Srinagar and Delhi.
Acting on the Governor’s directions, the State government immediately requested Union Defence Ministry to help in this regard after which 179 students were flown to Jammu through a special aircraft provided by Air Force authorities for appearing in GATE.
Similarly, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry was requested seeking their help in taking stranded pilgrims back to Srinagar who had missed their flights because of non-operation of flights to valley.
On the request made by the state government, 180 passengers have been flown back in Air India Flight 2827 landed at Srinagar Airport later in the day and the remaining passengers are scheduled to fly back to Srinagar on Saturday. All necessary arrangements including their stay in New Delhi has also been made by Air India.
The team of Resident Commissioner New Delhi is in constant touch with these people ensuring all possible help to them.
Since the matter came into the notice of the government, Advisor’s to Governor’s and Chief Secretary are continuously monitoring the steps taken in this regard and are being regularly informed of the progress in this regard.
They said that everything would be done to provide every kind of support to the people of the state stuck at Srinagar and in New Delhi because of the inclement weather.