Srinagar, March 17: The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) and Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) have expressed their grave concern over the exorbitant and uncertain air fares to Srinagar sector, and have urged the Union Civil Aviation Ministry to intervene in the matter.
These high rates have been adversely impacting tourism, the travel movement of sick, aged, students and businessmen, KCCI said in a statement to Ziraat Times.
Expressing happiness that the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, has taken note of situation and the “irrational” mechanism adopted by some operators in league with some airlines manipulating the air fare, the KCC&I has hailed the committee’s recent observation on this matter.
“The Committee recommends that there should be a mechanism with the Ministry such as capping of upper and lower prices to stop the practice of ‘predatory pricing’ or the sudden surge in prices even though price buckets are being created as per international aviation norms, a close watch has to be maintained by the DGCA & the Ministry and a mechanism should be devised to monitor the websites of various airlines to prevent them from misguiding passengers,” the panel had observed recently, adding that in case private airlines do not publish the correct information regarding fares, they should be penalized for it.
The Committee has further observed that the Ministry of Civil Aviation has a responsibility to the travelling public and the nation at large to ensure that predatory pricing mechanism are not adopted by the airlines under the cloak of free market economy. The committee has also recommended the ministry should formulate a pricing mechanism for air fares to ensure that passengers are not charged exorbitant prices.
KCCI has urged and requested the Minister of Home Affairs, the Union Minister for Civil Aviation Government of India and also the Director General, Civil Aviation to ensure implementation of the recommendation made by the said Department- related Committee in letter and spirit without fail and any further delay. In the meantime the Airlines should operate additional flights to meet the Tourist rush for visiting short lived Tulip garden. Furthermore, this is also the time for the return of local citizens, students and non resident Kashmiris, KCCI further observed.
Meanwhile, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir in a statement said that Srinagar sector has lately seen an exhorbitant hike in airfare which is not only impacting tourism footfall but it has also brought immense agony to the citizens of the valley above all the students and patients.
TAAK has appealed the Civil Aviation Ministry to immediately release the summer schedule and double the number of flights currently operating to Srinagar.
With the onset of early spring this year and the announcement regarding the early opening of world famous Tulip garden, Kashmir valley has lately seen the huge tourist influx which has lead to more demand for airlines , hotels and other tourism related services.
It is time for the government to intervene and increase the frequency of flights and also maintain checks and balances so that the travellers are not fleeced in the garb of demand, TAAK said.
TAAK also welcomed the recently released report of Parliamentary standing committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture who have recommended that airlines should not practice predatory pricing .
TAAK said that a perfect balance has to be maintained between the commercial interest of the airlines and the interest of the public to enable the private airlines to grow and at the same time the interest of passengers should also be kept in mind.