BY: Nasir Azam
Srinagar, Mar 10: Amid growing concern over frequent sky-rocketing of the airfares to and from Kashmir, a parliamentary panel has recommended to the Government of India to undertake necessary measures to keep the airfares for J&K under a reasonable limit.
According to wire service report tabled in the parliament, the department-related standing committee on Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has pushed for improving connectivity to J&K for exploiting potential in different sectors.
“The Committee notes that there exists a huge potential that can be explored in terms of exotic agrarian products, tourism and hospitality, industrial estates, handloom and handicrafts. But to realize this potential, there is a need to improve the connectivity of J&K with the rest of India,” reads the report. The panel headed by Anand Sharma of Congress has recommended that MHA along with the government of J&K should engage with the ministry of Civil Aviation and the Airports Authority of India to facilitate the operation of international flights from Sheikh- ul-Alam Airport, Srinagar. “The Committee also recommends that the infrastructure provided at Srinagar Airport must be improved for the same,” reads the report. The 31-member panel has also pushed for increasing air connectivity between J&K and Ladakh Union Territories. “The committee also recommends that the number of flights from Srinagar to Leh and from Srinagar to Kargil may be increased. Given the mountainous terrain and the frequency of landslides in the region, the Committee recommends that helicopter services may be further augmented by putting additional helicopters into service for tourist facilitation. Lesser-known and far flung destinations like Gurez, Bangus, Kishtwar, etc. should remain connected through these additional helicopter services,” the report states.
The airfares to and fro from Kashmir frequently increasing during winters and peak tourist season.
It is worthwhile to mention here J&K’s last Governor Satya Pal Malik had taken up the issue of rising air fares with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi when state was under central rule—(KNO)