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As weather closes highway, airfares skyrocket

Srinagar, Feb 13: With just one day of traffic disruption at Srinagar- Jammu National Highway on Monday after fresh snowfall, airfare from other destinations to Srinagar increased on Tuesday by more than 100 per cent.

The Srinagar- Jammu highway remained closed for more than 14 hours due to the snowfall following which the airline companies spiked the airfare to- and- fro to Srinagar.

 

Currently the airfare from New Delhi to Srinagar ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 12000 for February, which normally costs Rs 5000.

The cost of air ticket from Srinagar to New Delhi also soared by more than 30 per cent.

Similarly from other destinations like Mumbai, the airfare to Srinagar has increased by Rs 10,000 since Monday.

Same is the case for destinations like Kolkata and Gujarat where from tourists mostly rush to Kashmir during snowfall.

People claim that they face immense problems due to the sudden hike in the airfare.

“Few days back we purchased an air ticket from Srinagar to New Delhi at Rs 4000. But now from here we are supposed to pay Rs 13000 per passenger, which is unjustified. We are staying at New Delhi for few days or will take to bus for Jammu at least,” said Sajad Ahmad who is accompanying his mother for treatment at New Delhi.

The spike in airfare is leaving the tourism players unnerved, who claim that it can affect the tourist flow to Kashmir if not controlled.

“With every snowfall we mostly see increase in the number of bookings for Kashmir. But the increase in ticket prices always leave us disappointed. We hope that government acts in this regard to save this already dwindling tourism industry,” Umar Ahmad a tourism player said.

Director, Tourism Department Mahmood Ahmad Shah also echoed similar views, saying it was making Kashmir a costlier destination.

“Of course problems are there as it makes Kashmir costlier. But we have talked to the union Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha who has agreed to increase flights for Srinagar, which will automatically regulate airfare. Right now we have some 26 flights arriving here which will be increased to 50 soon,” he said.

Shah claimed that the airfare was high as majority of the Kashmiri were moving out for pilgrimage right out now.

“Kashmiris are travelling to outside states in a huge number these days. Some go for Umrah while few for other places due to which the airline companies get large number of passengers,” he said.