January 13, 2021

Crisis of travel to Kashmir in peak winter months

The travel on Srinagar-Jammu high way from either side has become both dangerous and as well as unaffordable as this arterial road remains shut for days together and last year it remained shut for more than days twice in the months of January and Feberuary. Ironically the Jammu & Kashmir Government does not take lessons from the bade experiences of the winter travelers on Kashmir highway in yesteryears.  The travel on this highway has become dangerous due to the threat of landslides and avalanches in the stone shooting areas and unaffordable due to unprecedented hikes in air fares from Srinagar to Jammu and Delhi during peak winter months of December, January and February. Keeping in view the vulnerability of the road in the winter months the central government does not bother to take any initiative on it’s own  for keeping the air fares from Jammu to Srinagar on the lower side . Though Lt Governor Manoj Sinha talks about industrial investments in Jammu & Kashmir but he does not bother even to take up the issue of unprecedented hike in the air fares on roués connecting Delhi and Jammu with Srinagar. Question can be asked that when the travel to Kashmir is so much unsafe and expensive for six long months of winter, how come the tourists and industrial entrepreneurs can be motivated to visit Kashmir either for sightseeing or investments to boost the shattered economy in Kashmir.   Interestingly the unprecedented hikes in airfares becomes an irresistible issue only after the Kashmir highway is closed due to landslides, avalanches and stone shooting at the vulnerable spots like Ramsu, Ramban, Panthal and Banihal.

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Knowing that the central government does not show interest in regulating the air fares from Jammu and Delhi to Srinagar the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha could at least arrange chattered flights of the Indian Air Force for airlifting the Kashmir travelers left stranded frequently in Jammu due to closure of Kashmir highway and he would face no issues in arranging even the make shift tents for the passengers left stranded frequently in Jammu due to closure of highway for days and even weeks together. The department of disaster management bound to take care of the victims of any natural calamity does not bother to tackle this huge human crisis in winter months in either winter capital Jammu or at vulnerable places of Kashmir highway.

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Few years back government was arranging chattered flights of the Indian air force for airlifting the stranded passengers but the government has stopped this routine private practice only to leave the stranded Kashmiri travelers to fend for themselves in Jammu the winter capital where the divisional administration of Jammu does not bother to even provided makeshift tents for shelter to the Kashmir travelers left stranded often in winter months in Jammu city and at several vulnerable places on Kashmir highway. The personal intervention of Lt Governor, Prime Minister and Home Minister for regulation of airfares would surely bring respite to people planning travel to Kashmir in winter but ironically neither the Jammu & Kashmir Government presently seated in Jammu the winter capital nor the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Home Ministry bothers to think about the regulation of air fares from Delhi and Jammu to Srinagar during peak winter months. Though Minister of State In the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh a two time MP from Udhampur parliamentary constituency looks after the affairs of the Jammu & Kashmir for about last six years but he too does not bother to think about the safe journey of the people on Kashmir highway during chilly winter months. Knowing that the central government does not show interest in regulating the air fares from Jammu and Delhi to Srinagar the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha could at least arrange chattered flights of the Indian Air Force for airlifting the Kashmir travelers left stranded frequently in Jammu due to closure of Kashmir highway and he would face no issues in arranging even the make shift tents for the passengers left stranded frequently in Jammu due to closure of highway for days and even weeks together. The department of disaster management bound to take care of the victims of any natural calamity does not bother to tackle this huge human crisis in winter months in either winter capital Jammu or at vulnerable places of Kashmir highway.

 

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