With the closure of strategic Jammu- Srinagar National Highway it has been a trend that airfares escalate and currently also due to closed highway due to snow fall and landslides we are witnessing huge increase in airfare giving much trouble to commuters. A few years back, with the ease of airfare the travel to and from Kashmir for travelers had become affordable. But now since sometime, especially during the tourist season, closed road connectivity the airfare skyrockets and as a result the different sectors of Kashmir especially tourism are hit hard
Kashmir is known globally as an acclaimed tourist destination. People from all over the world crave to have a glimpse of the natural beauty of Kashmir. The connectivity of Kashmir on account of tough geographical terrain gets in winters marred by the often road disruptions on account of bad weather which causes landslides and road blocks. With train connectivity to Kashmir from Jammu still incomplete, air travel assumes that extra importance with reference to the tourists visiting Kashmir and also for travelers from Kashmir wishing to visit outside Kashmir for varied reasons.
Bilal Bashir Bhat, Journalist states – “To boost the tourism where we see many significant decisions by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department like conducting of winter festival at summer destination Pahalgam, the state seems unaware of the fact that the air ticket prizes are becoming a major cause for the tourists to choose another place for outing.
The Jammu and Kashmir Tourism department which is conducting several road shows, symposiums and seminars in different states of India aimed to boost the tourism sector in Kashmir which lost its sheen particularly after 2014 devastating floods following by the 2016 public uprising has yet failed to address the major issue of the unprecedented airfares particularly at a time of long intervals of road closing due to snowing which is considered main attraction of the tourists.”
Pertinently, all the voices are outraged at abnormal spike in airfare that takes place when highway gets closed. Junaid Azam Mattu, youth leader of National Conference tweeted to Civil Aviation Minister Jayant Sinha – “Fare from Delhi to Srinagar more expensive than round-trip tickets to Dubai from Delhi. I thought @jayantsinha said it’s cheaper to fly than to take an auto rickshaw? Airlines can’t fleece people because we had two inches of snow in the Valley. Highway robbery as usual.”
Without doubt the pulse is that the huge spike in airfare every time national highway gets closed is throttling Kashmir and it needs to be checked .