The authorities have finally woken up to the plight of air travelers from Kashmir who are to made to pay through nose whenever the weather becomes a bit hostile closing the Srinagar-Jammu highway or resulting into cancelation of flights. Taking a serious note of peoples’ complaints, the Crime Branch, Kashmir has registered a case against the ticketing agents and airlines operating in J&K under Section 420, 468, 471, 409 r/w Section 120-B IPC. It may be mentioned here that various travel associations and trade bodies through Director Tourism Kashmir had registered complaints regarding alleged sale of air tickets by various travel agents on highly exorbitant rates by acting in league with air lines staff. Crime Branch conducted an enquiry on these complaints that revealed that the officials of various airlines sell group tickets in bulk in the name of passengers who are not members of any group and neither have sought their tickets as group members. The tickets obtained in advance by the travel agents as group tickets are black marketed by them at exorbitant prices as individual tickets and airlines staff accept individual as group tickets passengers as group members at the time of check- in, in violation of terms and conditions of air lines for group booking. Crime Branch came to know that air lines, by selling the bulk tickets in advance to travel agents, create an artificial & imaginary shortage in respect of availability of tickets online for general Public, which directly impacts the price index and results in high inflation in the air travel fares, thus paving way for fleecing of general Public by travel agents who, by purchasing tickets at a very low cost sell these tickets at high rates.
People have been complaining from past several years about this nexus but the authorities remained unconcerned. It is encouraging that finally this grave issue has been able to attract the attention of the authorities finally. Those intending to travel by air from Srinagar to some other place particularly have to pay huge money as fare particularly during winters. Even this winter, tickets from Srinagar-Jammu were sold upto 16-18 thousand rupees. The intervention made by the authorities and the process started by the Crime Branch is expected to resolve the issue once for all so that intending air travelers from Srinagar can heave some sigh of relief.