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Sky’s the limit for the Airfare

Sky’s the limit for the Airfare
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By Mudasir Ahmad Gori

Kashmir known for many reasons has hit the news desk again. In adding salt to injuries, this time Kashmiri people confront the issue of the increase in airfare. At a time when the whole of Kashmir is cut off from the rest of the world, the airline authorities don’t let this chance to slip out of their fingers. I wonder why everybody is becoming opportunistic regarding Kashmir. Everyone is trying to earn and score out of everything in what is happening in Kashmir. Have we not suffered already enough, have some mercy on the common people of Kashmir.
In recent news that went viral stating that the fare charges from Delhi to Dubai are cheaper than the fare from Delhi to Srinagar. Is it because it snowed in Kashmir and the people stranded are the best customers to be looted and victimized for their helplessness. It is important to note that snow is a natural calamity for Kashmir yet administration is in deep slumber.
Other than the appeal that honorable governor made to central government, what steps at ground level have been initiated. It seems that the central government has turned a deaf ear to the appeal of Satya Pal Malik. When such a great political figure of the state is not heeded, how would the wailings of common Kashmiri reach to the people sitting in cozy comforts compartments? Senior president of Kashmir Chambers and Industry Nasir Hamid Khan claimed that they have highlighted this issue many times and in fact gave many suggestions.
Given the sensitivity of the issue, it should have been given preference but it was overlooked. The KCCI appreciates the warning issued by the governor’s administration to the airlines over the exploitation of Srinagar-bound passengers by the airlines when the Srinagar-Jammu road gets closed, more stringent measures are required to effectively tackle the menace, he said.
It appeared that vested interests were indulging in blatant opportunism and exploitation of helpless travellers, Khan said. “The current policy was discriminatory in nature with one passenger paying Rs 2,000 and other paying Rs 30,000 for the same journey,” he added.
It also needs to be appreciated that the governor has signaled the central government about the price hikes, about the stranded people who have been stuck in the National Highway from last four to five days. In the same breath let’s appreciate that Kashmiriyat of Kashmiri’s because they managed to produce langar at different places to ensure that these stranded passengers get something to eat.
This is where we are different from the rest of the world. Kashmiri ensure that they help every individual irrespective of his religion place and identity. But unfortunately, Kashmir still receives a step-motherly treatment from India. This is where the cord of difference lies. This tissue-thin difference is so sensitive that if you try to ignore and neglect the same way, then the time is not far away that Kashmir will possibly remain cut off from the entire world. I am sure India would not prefer to do that.
Now with the main highway being closed the only remaining option for passengers is to travel by air. But the bitter truth is that it has become cow cash for the selected vested interests. In one of the strange case, a patient stated that his family had to spend more money on the airfare than on his medical treatment. In the same fashion student community and tourist sector also gets affected. After all, why would any tourist visit Kashmir for Rs 20000 when the same destination would cost him 3000 to 4000 normally? So it is set back to the tourism sector too.
The state government along the central government can think of arranging some government flights at this desperate time and situation. It should not be difficult for them. It can be easily managed for time being at least for the time up until these stranded passengers are evacuated from there. This is possible by fixing any reasonable price figure so that it becomes affordable as well as convenient for them. Now those who can not avail this facility for certain reasons, the government should ensure that residential quarters are made available after every 20 to 30 km, and some basic facilities like food and accommodation are served and made available to them.
This would certainly be a great help for the commuters and passengers as in and when they land in such a situation.
Moreover, the government can charge some amount from them and the same amount may be used to run the centralized mess or other facilities. It’s high time that people of Kashmir should be made to believe that they are not alone, but the moment any insurgency of whatever nature takes place, they are left to the mercy of God. This is a matter of concern for all of us. It is now or never, we need to rise up to the challenge because the future needs us and more than that we need the future.

The writer can be reached at [email protected]

KV Network

Kashmir Vision cover all daily updates for the newspaper

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